CHARLOTTE, N.C., Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina, in the face of growing criticism of his state’s controversial new transgender law, announced Tuesday he is strengthening workplace protections for state employees and is urging his state legislature to modify the law.
However, McCrory, a Republican, left the controversial law mostly intact. Critics accused the governor of doing little to stop discrimination.
McCrory used his executive order to try to peel back some of the effects of the law just 20 days after signing it. His order would prevent state workers from being fired for being gay or transgender. He also said he wants legislation that would give workers the right to sue for discrimination.
“Simply put, I have listened to the people of North Carolina, and the people of North Carolina are entitled to both privacy and equality,” said Mr. McCrory, a Republican who is seeking re-election this fall. “We can and we must achieve both of these goals.”
The governor is stuck between business interests who made clear their disdain for the law, which prevents transgender people from using the public bathroom of the gender they identify with and instead must use the one of the gender they were born, and conservatives in a conservative state who have no interest in changing the law.
The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce praised McCrory for helping promote the city and state “as places that promote diversity, inclusiveness and equality.”
Republican State Rep. Tim Moore, speaker of the state’s House of Representatives, said the law has “been unfairly reported and maligned by political activists.”
“Governor McCrory’s executive order affirms the importance of the actions the General Assembly took in passing the Bathroom Bill to protect North Carolina citizens from extremists’ efforts to undermine civility and normalcy in our everyday lives,” Moore said in a statement.
But the law has been slammed by ciliv rights groups, celebrities and major businesses like Apple, Google and American Airlines. Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert he was scheduled to perform in the state this week and PayPal announced they were scrapping plans to build a facility there. It might also cost the state major sporting events like the next NBA All-Star game, currently scheduled to be held in Charlotte.