Post submitted by former HRC Southern Regional Field Director Joe Saunders
Yesterday, the Charlotte City Council held a public meeting, which included a briefing from City staff on a proposed non-discrimination ordinance that would protect the Charlotte LGBT community from discrimination in public accommodations, vehicles for hire and in government contracting. The briefing, requested by Mayor Jennifer Roberts and members of council, reviewed the legal implications for the proposed ordinances, the scope of the Council’s legal authority to enact the protections and specifically addressed concerns raised by one of Charlotte’s leading opponents to LGBT protections, State Representative Dan Bishop. Late last month Rep. Bishop, a candidate for the State Senate, sent a letter to Mayor Jennifer Roberts and Charlotte city council members laying out a legal and political case for delaying and abandoning the Mayor’s pledge to move forward on LGBT non-discrimination protections. The briefing reaffirmed the city’s legal authority to move forward later this month.
Opponents to LGBT protections in Charlotte held a press conference directly before the briefing and demonstrated inside the Conference Center of the Mecklenburg Government Center.
In the closing hour of the briefing, a motion was made and approved to bring the non-discrimination ordinance up for a public hearing and a final vote on Monday, February 22.
Earlier this month, HRC members in Charlotte joined representatives from Equality NC, MeckPAC, the Mecklenburg County LGBT Democrats and the Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce to announce the re-launch of TurnOUT! Charlotte and push for a fully inclusive non-discrimination ordinance. TurnOUT Charlotte, originally convened by HRC, Equality NC and MeckPAC, was an unprecedented program launched last year to engage the LGBT community and our allies in the Charlotte City elections.
HRC is encouraging our members in Charlotte to attend the hearing on Monday, February 22 and to wear blue to show your support for LGBT non-discrimination.
Pictured above: Following the Charlotte City Council’s briefing Scott Bishop (HRC Board member), Erica Lachowitz (transgender advocate and Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce Board member) and Crystal Richardson (Equality NC Director of Public Advocacy) hold an impromptu press conference to discuss the outcome of the briefing.
Pictured below: Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and City Council members are briefed by City staff on the proposed Charlotte non-discrimination ordinance.