Commentary

Cooper’s non-discrimination Executive Order is one step forward on road to diversity, acceptance in NC

Governor Roy Cooper’s non-discrimination Executive Order, which states transgender North Carolinians can use public restrooms and facilities that match their gender identity, is a most welcome reprieve from HB2 – and its partial repeal in HB142 – that have plagued our state for nearly two years. Critically, the proposal rightfully and finally prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, color, ethnicity, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression in state positions, and “makes {at least state government in} North Carolina a welcoming place to all.”

That such an order was even necessary is a reflection of the warped priorities in our General Assembly on social issues as of late – ones that focused on non-existent “dangers” to others, based votes on “fake news”, and disrupted our local governments’ abilities to respond to the needs of their communities, cloaking the true intent to dismantle nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ North Carolinians.

The order arrives alongside a consent decree issued by Gov. Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein, and advocacy groups representing LGBTQ to resolve the ongoing legal dispute over HB142. If the decree becomes law it will provide some relief to many transgender North Carolinians in our state.

But HB2 and HB142 will remain. Nothing can entirely erase the impact these hateful laws have had on our state, or its reputation. The work to move North Carolina forward as a human rights destination for everyone must and will continue. This week’s firm declaration that our state welcomes all individuals is a breath of fresh air and should be welcomed by all as such. The Consent Decree, which should be adopted, likewise closes a courageous legal chapter by re-lighting the path of righteousness and equal justice for us all.

Rick Glazier is the Executive Director of the North Carolina Justice Center.

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