Charlotte City Council approves non-discrimination ordinance in 7-4 vote

- The Charlotte City Council voted 7-4 Monday night - approving the controversial non-discrimination ordinance that provides certain protections for the LGBT community. 

Essentially, it adds marital and familial status, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity to the list of protected characteristics in the existing Non-Discrimination Ordinances.

People on both sides of the debate attended a long meeting Monday night. The ordinance was back on the table after it was struck down about one year ago.

“I am pleased that Charlotte is now among the more than 250 cities and counties to offer similar protections,” said Mayor Jennifer Roberts in a written statement, released Monday night. “Tonight’s vote sends the signal that Charlotte is a welcoming city that strives to treat everyone equally and with dignity and respect.”

The 7-4 vote came after hearing comments from more than 100 speakers. The approved amendments will affect the following areas:

- Public accommodations:  Businesses and other public accommodations that serve the public are prohibited from discriminating based on any protected characteristic.

- Passenger vehicle for hire: Taxi cab and limousine companies and drivers may not refuse to transport any person on the basis of any protected characteristic.

- Commercial non-discrimination: Businesses that contract with the city may not discriminate against their vendors, suppliers, subcontractors or commercial customers on the basis of any protected characteristic.

The changes to the ordinance will go into effect April 1.

Governor McCrory issued the following statement on the Charlotte City Council vote:

"I am disappointed and saddened Charlotte city government initiated overreaching regulations that change basic standards and expectations of privacy regarding restrooms and locker rooms. As I communicated and predicted  prior to the vote, state legislative leaders have notified me about introducing  legislation that would correct this misguided government regulation and ensure it will not happen in any town or city in North Carolina. As governor, I will support legislative action to address this regulation and will remain committed to protecting the privacy and safety of all men, women and children of all ages in North Carolina.  My position is consistent with challenging government overreach by the federal, state and now a local government.  After resolving this issue, I look forward to working with legislative leaders to continue our focus on jobs and improving education. "

Rep. Tim Moore Speaker of the House had the following response to the ordinance vote:

“The Charlotte City Council has gone against all common sense and has created a major public safety issue by opening all bathrooms and changing rooms to the general public,” Speaker Moore (R-Cleveland) stated on Monday after the council’s vote. “This ordinance is impossible to regulate as intended, and creates undue regulatory burdens on private businesses. I join my conservative colleagues and Governor McCrory in exploring legislative intervention to correct this radical course.”

MeckGOP had the following response to the ordinance vote:

“It is no coincidence that this issue was resurrected within a year of having been defeated. This is purely and simply the polls of the progressive leftist having had success at the polls in November and is proof positive as to why elections matter and no one should ever stay home on Election Day,” stated Mecklenburg County GOP chair Claire Mahoney

Added Mahoney,  "Since this ordinance is contrary to NC law, we are waiting for Roy Cooper to weigh in and do his job. Apparently Cooper has the time and inclination to come to Charlotte and raise money for his friend Mayor Jennifer Roberts but he can't be bothered to speak out against the illegal actions of the Charlotte City Council which have put our children in jeopardy. Thank goodness we have a strong leader in Governor McCrory who stands ready to join Rep. Dan Bishop and others in the General Assembly to stop this affront to family values."

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