Mayor Roberts speaks out after non-discrimination ordinance overturned

- More fallout and backlash is unfolding surrounding the state's overturning of Charlotte's non-discrimination ordinance which was set to go into effect Friday, April 1. 

As more companies and conventions are rethinking their move to do business with Charlotte, FOX 46 sat down with Mayor Jennifer Roberts to discuss a number of things, including the next step she plans to take as Charlotte's leader, to not only entice businesses to come to the Queen City, but also keep the ones we have from looking to relocate. 

"This is not about the bathroom issue. City council felt strongly that LGBT includes 'T'," Roberts said. 

Mayor Roberts said Charlotte City Council leaders were trying to better represent values in the Queen City when passing an expansion to Charlotte's non-discrimination ordinance in February. 

It extended protections for the LGBT community and it would have also enabled transgender people to legally use the restrooms of the gender they identify with.

"What we heard about in Charlotte was concern about the restroom facilities and we understand there are good people on both sides of the issue. There would have been a way to just talk about those facilities that could have prevented a lot of the repercussions," Mayor Roberts said. 

Instead, House Bill 2 was passed by state legislators in a one-day session last week and signed into law that same night. 

The new law overrides local protections for the LGBT community. But it goes beyond that - touching minimum wage, as well as changing how discrimination lawsuits can be filed. 

"There was not enough time given and this is what you end up with," explained Mayor Roberts. 

Mayors of some major cities as a result, including the governor of New York, have now banned non-essential city and state travel to North Carolina. 

Multi-national companies are speaking out against the HB2 as well. Mayor Roberts said a couple conventions have now opted to go elsewhere instead of coming to Charlotte. 

"I've talked to major employers and their concern is that they're very welcoming in their workplace, they have LGBT employees but they're concerned that employees could walk out of their place of business, could go into a restaurant and there could be a sign saying 'gays not welcome here.' That would be perfectly legal under this new law," Mayor Roberts explained. 

Roberts said she's still figuring out how the City of Charlotte can operate under HB2. As of right now, the city is not considering legal action. 

"The lawsuits, and the conversations, and the backlash. This is just the beginning. It is my sincere hope that people recognize these are not our values and the whole fear around bathroom usage has been misrepresented," Mayor Roberts said. 

 

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