NC Lawmakers Convene Unprecedented, Costly Special Legislative Session to Repeal Charlotte’s LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance

By Cameron Tolle • March 22, 2016 • 9:35 am

After weeks of threats, legislative leaders in North Carolina announced that the General Assembly will reconvene tomorrow—Wednesday, March 22nd—for a special legislative session aimed at repealing Charlotte’s LGBT non-discrimination law. The unprecedented legislative session will cost taxpayers upwards of $42,000 per day.

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Late last month, Charlotte joined 200+ cities across the country in passing a comprehensive ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. The measure was backed by a strong majority of the council, key businesses and hundreds of local faith leaders and was scheduled to go into effect on April 1st. Prior to the City Council’s 7-4 vote in favor of the ordinance, Charlotte was one of the largest cities in the country to lack protections for LGBT residents and visitors.

Immediately following its passage, North Carolina leaders—led by Governor Pat McCrory—called for its repeal, employing unfounded scare tactics falsely implying that protecting transgender people from discrimination in public spaces is somehow a threat to public safety.

In a statement released today our executive director Matt McTighe denounced efforts to repeal the ordinance, saying the special session is nothing more than electoral politics gone wrong:

“It’s astonishing that lawmakers are willing to waste thousands – potentially hundreds of thousands – of taxpayer dollars on efforts to advance discrimination. Nondiscrimination ordinances strengthen local economies and communities. It’s hard to understand why lawmakers are going out of their way to strip protections away from some North Carolinians, while jeopardizing the state’s reputation in the process. It appears as though North Carolina’s political leaders are taking their cues from election year politics rather than the best interests of their constituents, and in the process they’re wasting taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.”

This special session isn’t just unprecedented—it’s vastly out of touch with the majority of NC voters. New polling released today found that 51 percent of North Carolina voters – including 45 percent of Republicans – believe Charlotte should be able to pass its own laws without interference from the General Assembly. The polling also found that only 25 percent of North Carolinians support the General Assembly overriding the Charlotte ordinance. Polling from last month found that 64 percent of North Carolinians actually support comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people.

It’s still unclear exactly what legislation will be under consideration when the General Assembly meets tomorrow morning, as bill language has still not been made public. While proponents of special session have made it clear their aim is to overturn Charlotte’s ordinance, the threat of even more expansive legislation looms. And whatever happens will happen quickly—likely by the end of this week.

Freedom for All Americans is committed to working alongside our allies in North Carolina to do whatever it takes to stop this all-out attack on the freedoms of LGBT people in Charlotte and across the Tar Heel State.

CLICK HERE to urge Governor McCrory to stop the attacks on LGBT people and let Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance stand!


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