North Carolina governor amends bathroom law to allow private establishments to set their own rules

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory explains the executive order he issued in a video message released on April 12, 2016.(YouTube/Office of Gov. McCrory)

In the wake of the backlash against House Bill 2, or the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has issued an executive order that partially amends the law to allow private establishments to establish their own rules on bathroom use.

Executive Order 39, signed by the governor on Tuesday, provides that "private businesses can set their own rules for their own restroom, locker room and shower facilities, free from government interference."

HB 2 mandates that places of public accommodation that impose rules on the use of bathrooms based on biological sex will not be considered as a form of discrimination.

Critics said the law targets transgenders, barring them from using bathroom, lockers and changing facilities based from their gender identity.

In his order, the governor maintained that state agencies, cabinet agencies, cities, countries, schools, the University of North Carolina System and the North Carolina Community College System shall designate restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities based on biological sex.

They may make reasonable accommodation by providing a single occupancy restroom "upon request due to special circumstances."

McCrory also expanded the equal employment opportunity policy for state employees to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

In his video message, the governor said his decision to issue the executive order came after listening to feedback on the law.

"I have come to the conclusion that there is a great deal of misinformation, misinterpretation, confusion, a lot of passion and frankly, selective outrage and hypocrisy, especially against the great state of North Carolina," he said.

In keeping the provision on the use of bathrooms in government facilities based on biological sex, he said, "We have long held traditions of both ensuring equality for all of our citizens and our visitors, while also respecting the privacy of everyone."

McCrory also promised that he "will immediately seek legislation in the upcoming short session to reinstate the right to sue for discrimination in North Carolina state courts."

Three private individuals, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina have sued McCrory, Attorney General Roy Cooper III and the University of North Carolina over House Bill 2, saying the law discriminate against transgenders and bars local governments from protecting the LGBT community.

Business establishments such as PayPal have cancelled plans to expand in North Carolina.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest defended the law.

"We didn't initiate the issue. It was started when a local city council passed an unconstitutional ordinance opening all bathrooms and showers to all sexes at all times," Forest told CBN News.