North Carolina Lawmakers Vow To Kill Charlotte Anti-Bias Bill

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory vowed to “correct” a sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) ordinance passed in Charlotte, calling it a “misguided government regulation.”

The Charlotte City Council on Feb. 22 expanded the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance by adding sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. Under the leadership of newly elected Mayor Jennifer Roberts, council passed the changes 7-4. The expanded ordinance forbids discrimination against LGBT persons in all public accommodations, even allowing biological males and females to use the public bathroom and locker rooms of the gender with which they identify. Opponents are turning to the state legislature to abolish the law.

 

(WNS)–North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory vowed to “correct” a sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) ordinance passed in Charlotte, calling it a “misguided government regulation.”

One year after city representatives defeated a similar ordinance amid contentious debate, the Charlotte City Council on Feb. 22 expanded the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance by adding sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. Under the leadership of newly elected Mayor Jennifer Roberts, council passed the changes 7-4. The expanded ordinance forbids discrimination against LGBT persons in all public accommodations, even allowing biological males and females to use the public bathroom and locker rooms of the gender with which they identify.

Opponents are turning to the state legislature to abolish the law.

“I think you see a lot of passion,” McCrory said in an interview with WBTV Charlotte. “This is breaking a common sense standard that’s been around a long, long time. It has nothing to do with discrimination. It has to do with basic, common sense values and a sense of privacy.”

Unlike Houston residents, who challenged a similar ordinance in 2014 with a voter referendum, Charlotte residents have no such recourse. For relief, they must appeal to the North Carolina State Assembly. North Carolina is not a home rule state, and the Assembly can act, or not, to rescind the ordinance in part or full.

Tim Moore, speaker of the North Carolina House, vowed to seek legislative “intervention to remedy this radical course.”

“Charlotte ordinance is impossible to regulate as intended, and creates undue regulatory burdens on private businesses,” he said in a Twitter post following the council’s vote.

Pastor Mark Harris is worried about the business owners in his pews. As much as he fears invasion of privacy and safety issues related to the ordinance, the senior pastor of First Baptist Church Charlotte said an even larger issue is at stake.

“The religious freedom part of this cannot be trumpeted enough,” he said.

As with all SOGI laws, the Charlotte ordinance puts people of religious conviction at odds with their government. Such laws require business owners, particularly those in the wedding service industry, to provide goods and services to all customers and events, including for same-sex wedding ceremonies. Christian business owners nationwide have lost their businesses or been fined for declining to participate in same-sex weddings because they conflict with the biblical standard of marriage.

In 2012, Harris helped spearhead passage of North Carolina’s Marriage Act, which legally defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. Since that time, the pushback from LGBT activists has been unrelenting.

“It’s obvious they are pressing this issue from Houston to Charlotte,” he said.

Dave Welch, executive director of the Houston Area Pastors Council, led a racially and politically diverse group of pastors in an 18-month-long battle to defeat a similar ordinance in Houston. The group remains vigilant, he said, prepared to address any new introduction of the ordinance.

Harris admitted the group that coalesced to fight North Carolina’s law last year did not remain active. Into that void, gay activists recruited, supported, and voted into office a mayor and council members who vowed to pass the ordinance.

“It was obvious the church did not take seriously the thought that [the ordinance] would come back so quickly,” Harris said. Low voter turnout in November—14 percent—demonstrated a lack of due diligence on the coalition’s part, he added.

In addition to the religious liberty and privacy violations created by SOGI laws, critics argue local ordinances create a patchwork of disparate regulations across the state that individuals and business owners cannot be expected to keep track of.

McCrory, who served as mayor of Charlotte for 14 years, said the local ordinance “transcends political boundaries.”

“I anticipate immediate legislation in April when we convene … which would ensure that no city or town in North Carolina would be allowed to pass a regulation or implement a regulation which would basically invade the basic standards of privacy for people who want to feel secure in a restroom or locker room facility,” McCrory told WBTV.

Harris said initial statements from state legislators indicated they would repeal the entire law. Days later, the focus seems to be turning to excising the public bathroom accommodation for transgender persons. If the State Assembly refuses to repeal the entire law, Harris said opponents would consider legal action.

The North Carolina State Assembly convenes April 25. The ordinance goes into effect April 1.

© 2016 World News Service. Used with permission.