Post submitted by Stephen Peters, former Senior National Press Secretary and Spokesperson
Today, HRC; Equality NC, the statewide organization working for LGBTQ equality; and MeckPAC, a local pro-equality political action committee, announced their endorsement of Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts in her bid for re-election this November.
“Mayor Roberts is a champion of LGBTQ equality and unwavering in her commitment to moving Charlotte forward as a welcoming and inclusive city,” said Scott Bishop, a Charlotte resident and member of the HRC Board of Directors. “In the face of two direct legislative attacks on LGBTQ North Carolinians with HB2 and HB142, and despite the shameful political pressure from state lawmakers, Mayor Roberts continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with the LGBTQ community in the fight for LGBTQ equality. HRC is proud to endorse Mayor Jennifer Roberts in her bid for re-election.”
"Mayor Jennifer Roberts has been a staunch supporter of LGBTQ rights even in the face of pressure from extremist lawmakers in Raleigh and deeply discriminatory laws such as HB2 and HB142," said Matt Hirschy, Interim Executive Director for Equality NC. "As mayor of the largest city in North Carolina, Mayor Roberts is working tirelessly to make Charlotte and the rest of the state welcoming for all. Equality NC is proud to endorse a champion of equality, Mayor Jennifer Roberts, for re-election."
"I am proud that local and national groups committed to equality have endorsed our campaign for re-election,” said Mayor Jennifer Roberts. “Since I became Mayor of Charlotte, we've created over 15,000 jobs, we've passed a historic non-discrimination ordinance, and we've made great strides on affordable housing. Charlotte is attracting new businesses and jobs because we are an inclusive, welcoming city, and I am running for re-election to make sure that the Queen City continues to be a great place for everyone to live, work, and thrive."
Sending a clear message that discrimination has no place in Charlotte, Mayor Roberts and the Charlotte City Council passed city-wide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in February 2016. In response, Governor Pat McCrory and state lawmakers doubled down on discrimination by ramming HB2 into law — leading to an overwhelming outcry, economic fallout, and the defeat of Governor McCrory last November. After the election, lawmakers and the new governor passed HB142, falsely touting it as a repeal of HB2. In reality, that new discriminatory law effectively banned LGBTQ non-discrimination protections statewide through 2020 and permanently barred cities from passing laws that ensure transgender people can access facilities in accordance with their identity. Throughout both discriminatory legislative attacks, Mayor Roberts stood by the LGBTQ community despite the political pressure being exerted from state lawmakers.
Mayor Roberts was awarded Equality NC's Jamie Kirk Hahn Ally Award last year for her leadership in fighting for LGBTQ equality. A member of Mayors Against LGBTQ Discrimination, a bipartisan coalition of municipal leaders dedicated to securing LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections at all levels of government, Mayor Roberts has joined national panels warning lawmakers across the country about the harms of HB2-type discrimination.
On a local level, Equality NC and MeckPAC also released a joint slate of endorsed candidates for Charlotte City Council, which is currently facing a variety of important local concerns on economic opportunity and mobility, affordable housing and criminal justice reform, issues which disproportionately impact the LGBTQ community.
"Our endorsed candidates for Charlotte City Council this year understand that the LGBTQ community also has an important stake in conversations which will move Charlotte forward as a more equitable, accessible and welcoming city for all people, regardless of race, income, sexual orientation or gender identity," said Emily Plauché, vice chair of the MeckPAC board. "We're proud to join with our statewide partner, Equality NC, in ensuring a continued pro-equality Council accountable to the needs of the most marginalized members of our community."