Following North Carolina’s partial repeal of HB2, a law prohibiting local governments from passing anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) declared his intention Tuesday to issue an executive order to increase protections for LGBTQ people in the state.
“I’m going to issue an executive order pretty soon that is comprehensive, that helps with LGBT protections and we’re going to keep working every day,” Cooper said during the Center for American Progress’ Ideas Conference.
In March, Cooper signed the partial repeal into law which will remain in effect until 2020. The legislation retains some elements of HB2, such as prohibiting municipalities from passing nondiscrimination protections that regulate private employment or public accommodations. The compromise has been criticized by LGBTQ rights groups.
Cooper contended Tuesday that he wanted a clean repeal without a compromise but did not see it as feasible considering that North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature operates under the Hastert Rule—the majority of a party has to support an initiative in order to have it considered on the floor.
“I had a choice. Do I continue to make a statement and pound the table and nothing happen? Or do I take a positive step, make progress and continue to fight?” Cooper said. “I chose the latter for my state because we got rid of the birth certificate requirement. We opened up the ability of local governments to provide some protections now and some in the future.”
Since former Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed HB2 into law, North Carolina has lost $376 billion. Since the compromise legislation was implemented, businesses have reengaged with the state. Cooper claims that the reengagement is due to businesses recognizing his commitment to obtaining a full repeal of HB2.
“I knew we had to make a step and that’s why I did it. It was the right thing to do. Diversity is our strength,” Cooper said. “North Carolina is a welcoming state ― we’ve just gotta make sure that our laws catch up with our people.”
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