Opponents say law continues to legalize discrimination
This article is originally published at Home Accents Today, April 12, 2016 |
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory today issued an executive order altering two provisions in House Bill 2.
According to a statement from McCrory's office, the executive order includes five key points:
● It expands the state’s equal employment policy for state employees to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.
● It seeks legislation to allow employees to sue their employers in state court for discrimination. Under HB2, those lawsuits could only be filed in federal court.
● It upholds the portion of the law that requires people to use bathrooms of their birth gender and not their gender identity in public facilities.
● It affirms the private sector and local governments have the right to establish non-discrimination employment policies for their own employees.
● It affirms the private sector has the right to establish its own restroom and locker room policies.
“After listening to people’s feedback for the past several weeks on this issue, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great deal of misinformation, misinterpretation, confusion, a lot of passion and frankly, selective outrage and hypocrisy, especially against the great state of North Carolina,” McCrory said in the statement. “Based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state’s commitment to privacy and equality.”
Read the complete executive order here.
The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and Equality NC filed a federal lawsuit challenging the bill last month. In response to McCrory's executive order, ACLU of North Carolina Acting Executive Director Sarah Preston said:
"Gov. McCrory’s actions today are a poor effort to save face after his sweeping attacks on the LGBT community, and they fall far short of correcting the damage done when he signed into law the harmful House Bill 2, which stigmatizes and mandates discrimination against gay and transgender people. With this executive order, LGBT individuals still lack legal protections from discrimination, and transgender people are still explicitly targeted by being forced to use the wrong restroom.
“An impressive and growing number of businesses, faith leaders, and public figures have come out to condemn House Bill 2 as an unnecessary and dangerous measure that unfairly targets gay and transgender people. Regardless of political affiliation, more and more political leaders also understand that discrimination is bad for business and politically toxic. The public believes in equality and fairness and House Bill 2 and measures like it are out of step with the values of most Americans.
"Efforts to divide the LGBT community by extending limited protections but leaving in place the rules mandating discrimination against the transgender community will only strengthen our resolve to fight back against this discriminatory and misguided legislative action. We call on Gov. McCrory and the North Carolina legislature to repeal House Bill 2 and replace it with full non-discrimination protections for all LGBT people.”
HB2 has sparked criticism from businesses across the country because the law enacted a statewide non-discrimination policy that does not include sexual orientation or gender identity as protected classes, and it prevents local governments from passing their own broader non-discrimination ordinances.
It overrides an anti-discrimination ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council in February that would have allowed transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity. It also overturned non-discrimination policies of 22 other localities, and was pushed through in a 12-hour emergency session – which limited time for business owners and concerned citizens to react in support or opposition.
Companies like PayPal and Deutsche Bank have withdrawn plans to expand business in North Carolina, and Bruce Springsteen recently canceled a concert in the state because of the law.
The High Point Market Authority said it has heard from “dozens of customers” who plan to boycott the April 16-20 market over the controversial bill, which was passed by the North Carolina legislature and signed into law by McCrory on March 23.
Some retailers and interior designers have stated publicly they will not attend the spring market because of HB2, while others said they will attend the market but express their opposition to the law in other ways. Gold Leaf Design Group and Theodore Alexander are among the exhibitors that plan to donate a portion of their sales to nonprofits that serve the LGBT community.
What are your thoughts on the executive order? Will you boycott the market this spring or protest in some other fashion? Why or why not?
If you’re willing to make an on-the-record statement, please comment on this article or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will continue to report on House Bill 2 and its potential impact on the market at www.homeaccentstoday.com and in our April print edition at market.