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Governor Roy Cooper Mandates Open Bathrooms Across N.C.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper took sweeping action on Wednesday issuing an Executive Order that will allow men to enter women’s public bathrooms, showers, locker rooms and other intimate facilities across the state and that will grant special legally protected status in state employment and contracting on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression.” This same day, Gov. Cooper joined other parties in filing a legal request asking a federal court to invalidate the bathroom protections included in House Bill 142, the “replacement” bill for North Carolina’s House Bill 2.

Executive Order

Gov. Cooper signed an Executive Order Wednesday that would greatly expand the state’s non-discrimination policies relating to employment, contracting, grant making, government services and access to public facilities. The list of protected classifications includes “sexual orientation,” and “gender identity or expression” and applies to all “state agencies, boards, commissions and departments under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Governor.”

The Executive Order goes so far as to require any entity that receives state funds, as well as private contractors or subcontractors seeking to do business with the state, to have internal corporate policies that mirror the states policy outlined above. This means that in order to receive state funds or to contract with the state, a non-profit or for-profit business must open women’s bathrooms and other intimate facilities to men, and vice versa.

It is important to note that these special classifications of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity and expression” are not included in federal non-discrimination law, or the non-discrimination policies of 28 states, including North Carolina.

Judicial “Consent Decree”

Governor Cooper, on Wednesday, also joined other parties in filing a “Consent Judgment and Decree” asking the federal court to invalidate the bathroom provision of House Bill 142 (the successor bill to House Bill 2), so that “transgender people are not prevented from the use of public facilities in accordance with their gender identity.” The ACLU of North Carolina, Equality NC, State Attorney General Josh Stein, and other parties in the case joined Gov. Cooper in filing the request.

Not surprisingly, the document acknowledges that N.C. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and Speaker of the N.C. House Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) “sought and were granted permissive intervention” in the case but fails to note that they have not joined in the “consent” request.

NC Family will continue to monitor the situation and give updates as needed. Full text of relevant documents can be found below:


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