Faced with boycotts, North Carolina’s governor backtracks on an anti-LGBT law

North Carolina’s governor was in hot water after signing a controversial anti-LGBT bill into law.
North Carolina’s governor was in hot water after signing a controversial anti-LGBT bill into law.
Image: AP Photo/Cliff Owen
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Pat McCrory, Republican governor of North Carolina, issued a new executive order today that waters down a controversial law which removed protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens, and banned trans people from bathrooms if their gender does not match their birth certificate.

The law was harshly criticized by celebrities, businesses, and human rights groups. Bruce Springsteen cancelled a North Carolina concern, and PayPal and Deutsche Bank pulled the plug on plans to expand in the state.

McCrory’s executive order maintains much of the “bathroom bill,” but also “encourages reasonable accommodations” in public restrooms for “those who have unique or special circumstances,” and allows private businesses to set their own rules. The order also expands the state’s employment policy to cover sexual orientation and gender identity, and “seeks legislation to reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination.”

The changes are unlikely to satisfy the many people who have protested the law, but may be enough to placate groups who feared the law would tarnish North Carolina’s desirability as a place to do business.

Speaking to an NBC affiliate in Charlotte, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce president  Bob Morgan said: “Today’s action by governor Pat McCrory sends a positive message to businesses across North Carolina and to our economic development clients throughout the country and world that North Carolina and Charlotte understand the need to attract and retain diverse talent in our workforce.”

“Governor 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,” Sarah Preston, acting executive director, told The Washington Post.