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Gov. Pat McCrory wants parts of North Carolina rights law changed

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has filed an executive order that extends further protections to state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but leaves intact the bulk of a new state law regarding rights for lesbian, gay and transgender people.

McCrory said he wants state lawmakers to change part of the law that prevents people from suing over workplace discrimination, but he would need the legislature to make that change.

His announcement comes as fallout widens over the law he signed last month that would limit protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people.

McCrory acknowledged outcry over the law, saying he'd listened to "feedback'' from people for several weeks.

"This will not satisfy all the critics who have a litmus test of purity on each side of this issue," McCrory told The Associated Press in an interview. "My job is to find a common sense solution to where we have conflicts between privacy and between equal rights."

He said that "based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state's commitment to privacy and equality."

In the sports world, there have been calls for the NBA to move the 2017 All-Star Game from the state. The NFL said it would not move its league meetings from Charlotte in May, and the NCAA said it would monitor the situation.

The Atlanta City Council recently asked the NBA to move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte to Atlanta because of the law. The NBA responded by saying it was hopeful a resolution could be reached. There are movements to get the law overturned.

"We appreciate the invitation but are hopeful that the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina can work through their differences far in advance of the 2017 All-Star Game," the NBA said in a statement.

The NBA's owners are also expected to be updated on the situation surrounding the 2017 All-Star Game at this week's board of governors meetings, to be held on Thursday and Friday in New York.

The NFL said earlier this month it would not move its May 23-25 meetings from Charlotte despite the law.

"We embrace diversity and inclusiveness in all of our policies,'' league spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN. "The Panthers have made clear their position of non-discrimination and respect for all their fans. The city of Charlotte also has made clear its position.

"The meeting will take place in the city of Charlotte."

The NCAA, which is scheduled to hold men's basketball tournament games in Greensboro in 2017 and Charlotte in 2018, issued a statement last month saying it's monitoring the situation and takes diversity into account when it chooses its event sites.

"Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values," the organization's statement said. "It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events."

On Tuesday, McCrory also said he will ask lawmakers to file legislation later this month allowing people to sue in state court over discrimination. That right had been wiped out by the law.

But the statement said that his order will maintain gender-specific restroom and locker-room access in government buildings and schools. He once again condemned a Charlotte ordinance passed earlier this year that allowed transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity, calling it "a solution in search of a problem."

The new law known as House Bill 2 (HB2) was passed by the General Assembly on March 23 and signed that night by McCrory. It superseded the Charlotte ordinance.

But it went further than repealing the Charlotte law by overruling LGBT anti-discrimination measures passed by local governments around the state. It also excluded sexual orientation and gender identity from the state's anti-discrimination policy. The law also required transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate.

His announcement came hours after Deutsche Bank announced that it was halting plans to add 250 jobs in North Carolina because of the law.

Deutsche Bank, a German bank with a large U.S. presence, adds another loud voice to a chorus of business leaders who have urged the repeal of the law by Republican leaders who promote the state as business-friendly.

Previously, PayPal reversed plans to open a 400-employee operation center in Charlotte, and more than 130 corporate CEOs signed a letter urging the law's repeal. A number of states and cities have restricted public employee travel to the state.

This week, the law prompted several more groups to cancel planned conventions or gatherings in the state.

Some major music acts have also responded to the law. Bruce Springsteen canceled a Greensboro show over the weekend because of it.

Jimmy Buffett, meanwhile, said that he considers the law "stupid" but will proceed with scheduled shows in Raleigh and Charlotte this month. He said future dates would depend on whether the law is repealed.

Advocacy groups that have been fighting the state law said McCrory's actions don't go far enough.

Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, said McCrory's order is a step in the right direction but still "doubles down" on some of the most problematic parts of the law.

"If the governor is truly committed to non-discrimination and wants to undo the harms done by House Bill 2, this is just the beginning of the conversation," Sgro said in a written statement.

The head of the state ACLU, which has filed a lawsuit challenging the law, said the governor had made "a poor effort to save face."

Sarah Preston, the group's acting executive director for the state, said: "With this executive order, LGBT individuals still lack legal protections from discrimination, and transgender people are still explicitly targeted by being forced to use the wrong restroom."

ESPN Panthers reporter David Newton and The Associated Press contributed to this report.