- December 19, 2016
Today, HRC and Equality North Carolina released the following statements following the Charlotte City Council’s vote to withdraw the city’s non-discrimination ordinance pending the North Carolina General Assembly’s vote to fully repeal the state’s deeply discriminatory HB2. City leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to passing comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people after HB2’s repeal.
“Governor-elect Cooper has briefed us on a deal he brokered with state lawmakers to reach a complete and total repeal of HB2," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "HB2 is precisely why North Carolinians went to the polls and ousted Governor McCrory last month. It's time to chart a new course guided by the state's values of dignity and respect, not discrimination and hate -- and to ensure non-discrimination protections exist in cities, towns and across the state of North Carolina. It’s been 271 days since the shameful and archaic HB2 was first passed, and the entire country has witnessed its devastating impact. It's time for state lawmakers to repeal HB2 and begin repairing the harm this bill has done to people and the damage it has done to North Carolina's reputation and economy."
“The problem has never been Charlotte. Charlotte's ordinance was a best practice employed in hundreds of cities across the country,” said Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro. “The Charlotte City Council and mayor did the right thing by passing their ordinance -- HB2 is wrong. Since its passage, the deeply discriminatory HB2 has hurt our economy and people. Now, the General Assembly must fully repeal HB2 so that we can start the necessary talks for protecting LGBTQ people and bring back businesses across the state. We look forward to working with Governor-elect Cooper to win protections community by community and statewide.”
Recognizing the importance of creating a positive and conducive environment for business, in February, the Charlotte City Council passed the city-wide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. While city leaders sent a clear message that discrimination has no place in Charlotte, in response, Governor Pat McCrory and state lawmakers rammed HB2 into law and doubled down on discrimination. Eventually making only one tweak to the law, the General Assembly was unwilling to even consider repealing the substance of HB2, including its provision targeting transgender people, and its removal of municipalities’ ability to pass LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws and minimum wage ordinances.
A broad range of voices have spoken out over the last 9 months about the need for HB2’s full and complete repeal. The economic fallout -- including more than $600 million in lost business -- has continued to grow as companies concerned with protecting their consumers and employees have moved conventions, trainings, operations, productions, and other events out of state. The NBA, NCAA, and business leaders have made clear that cities like Orlando and Dallas -- cities with full protections -- are where they can ensure the safety of their employees and fans. That means Charlotte’s actions must be temporary. The city needs fully inclusive non-discrimination protections, period.
North Carolina polling released by HRC and Equality NC found that HB2 was the critical issue leading to Governor Pat McCrory’s defeat -- the only incumbent governor from either party to lose on election day. The HRC and Equality NC survey of 500 North Carolina voters found them opposed to HB2 by a 62 to 30 percent margin. HB2 was also listed as the leading reason to vote against McCrory -- with 57 percent citing HB2, 17 points above any other issue.