Leaders of North Carolina’s religious right weighed in Wednesday on Gov. Pat McCrory’s executive order on House Bill 2 the previous day, saying the governor went too far when he extended non-discrimination protections to state employees.
They urged him to “stand strong” against opposition to HB2, which bans transgender people from using the public facility bathrooms that are appropriate to their sense of gender. Instead, it requires everyone to use the bathroom corresponding to their sex at birth.
McCrory’s executive order added the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the non-discrimination policy for state employees. He also expressed his support for restoring state residents’ right to file employment discrimination lawsuits in state court, an option the new law eliminated.
The remainder of the seven-section order restates other aspects of the new law, and clarifies that businesses can establish their own bathroom rules.
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Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the N.C. Values Coalition, matched the heated remarks made the previous day by Senate leader Phil Berger, saying opponents of the new law were extremists.
“These opponents of privacy and freedom will stop at nothing – until young girls are forced to shower, undress, and use the restrooms with grown men and North Carolinians are criminalized simply for peacefully living and working according to their core convictions,” she said in an emailed statement.
“While we believe the governor went too far in adopting policies that threaten the First Amendment freedoms of state employees, we urge the governor and legislative leaders to continue to stand strong on HB2 against the vicious lies that are being told about it by these extremists, maintaining privacy and safety for women and girls, and ensuring that freedom flourishes and the rule of law isn’t used to punish or silence citizens and private businesses who seek to live and work according to their beliefs.”
Similarly, the Family Policy Council’s website posted this message Wednesday:
“Although we disagree with the governor’s use of executive power to expand state employment policy beyond existing state law to include ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity,’ Executive Order 93 enumerates and adds clarity to many important aspects of House Bill 2, which remain fully intact.”
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, responded to the governor’s executive order with a statement on Facebook thanking him for leaving intact the bathroom and private sector provisions.
“However, expanding the state’s employment policies to include ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ via executive order was not something with which we can agree. Executive orders are not a proper vehicle for such changes.”