The Charlotte City Council just passed a historic non discrimination ordinance – governor threatens "immediate action."
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After more than three hours of contentious debate and input by more than 140 speakers, the Charlotte, North Carolina city council passed an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance by a 7-4 vote. Newly elected Democratic Mayor Jennifer Roberts (photo) was able to successfully usher in the ordinance despite the best efforts of organized right wing religious activists, including Franklin Graham, who calls Charlotte his home town.
“With this vote, North Carolina’s largest city has affirmed that all people deserve to be treated fairly and protected by the law,” Sarah Preston, the ACLU of North Carolina's acting Executive Director said. “When a business decides to open its doors to the public, it should be open to everyone on the same terms. We applaud Charlotte’s council members for making their city more safe, welcoming, and inclusive, and we urge municipal leaders across the state to follow their example. Charlotte has full authority to enact this ordinance, and we hope the General Assembly will respect this local government’s decision to protect its residents and visitors from discrimination.”
“Are we a city that panders to fear and hate to those who wish to perpeuate fear and injustice?” Democrat Al Austin, who voted in favor of the ordinance, asked. “I say to you, ‘Not on my watch.’ ”
The Charlotte Business Journal notes the legislation "adds marital status, family status, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the existing non-discrimination rules affecting restaurants, hotels, taxis and other businesses and public areas."
GOP Gov. Pat McCrory Monday morning threatened the state legislature would take "immediate" action should lawmakers pass the LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance. The Charlotte Observer reports the state legislature, which convene in May, "could nullify the entire ordinance as it pertains to gay, lesbian and transgender residents. That would include the bathroom provision, but also protections in places of public accommodation."
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.