CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory and members of the NCGOP are encouraging the Charlotte City Council to take action ensuring they won’t go ahead with their already overruled non-discrimination ordinance in exchange for a possible repeal of HB2. McCrory’s office confirmed on Friday that he would call a special session to consider repealing HB2 if Charlotte made the first move and provided a majority of lawmakers were in favor of repeal.
In a statement released on Saturday statement Saturday, House Speaker Tim Moore said that if Charlotte “fully and unconditionally” repealed its ordinance, “then I believe we have something to discuss.”
The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association are in support of the plan to see Charlotte blink first, followed by a possible repeal of HB2. The Charlotte Chamber is also pushing for such a compromise, calling it “a fresh opportunity.”
The Charlotte Observer editorial board has come out against the deal, writing, “It’s a bad deal for the city, and more importantly, for members of the LGBT community who would lose their best chance at protections from discrimination. Council members should not turn their backs on those residents now.”
The Charlotte City Council voted against a motion to see if there was enough support to have a vote on repealing the non-discrimination ordinance in May. It failed in a 7-4 vote.
The city council will meet on Monday night. LGBT rights groups MeckPAC, Equality North Carolina and the Human Rights Campaign are all calling on the city council to stand firm.
“We can’t afford more antics from Pat McCrory, Phil Berger, and Tim Moore. They are the ones who got us in this situation in the first place and are costing our state millions,” said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina. “Hundreds of other cities across the nation already had in place a similar ordinance to Charlotte’s. While important to the LGBT community, it was not unique. What is unique and dangerous is HB2. It’s HB2 that cost us the NCAA, ACC, and the NBA. It’s HB2 that’s causing us economic harm, and it’s HB2 that needs to be repealed. Enough games and blame – repeal HB2.”
“This is the same cheap trick the North Carolina General Assembly has attempted all along, asking Charlotte to repeal crucial protections for the LGBTQ community and trust they will hold up their end of the bargain on a full repeal of HB2.” said JoDee Winterhof, Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs at the Human Rights Campaign. “This arrangement would create problems, not solve them. It would require Charlotte to drop the very protections for the LGBTQ community that businesses, the NCAA and other organizations have now made clear are need and are a priority.”
“North Carolina’s people and economy are suffering because the General Assembly and Governor McCrory passed a law that encourages discrimination against LGBT people and particularly targets and harms transgender people,” said Susanna Birdsong, Policy Counsel for the ACLU of North Carolina. “It is absurd, dishonest and wrong to blame the damage caused by H.B. 2 on a Charlotte ordinance that protects LGBT people from discrimination and is similar to laws in 18 states and more than 200 municipalities. North Carolina’s leaders need to stop blaming others, take responsibility for the disaster that is H.B. 2 and repeal the entire discriminatory law without delay. We urge the Charlotte City Council to stand firm on its commitment to protecting the LGBT community from discrimination by leaving its ordinance intact.”
“The reason the NBA, NCAA and countless other groups and companies have refused to do business in North Carolina is because H.B. 2 is an unprecedented and targeted attack on the LGBT community that is inconsistent with American values – not because Charlotte commendably decided to protect LGBT people from discrimination,” said Simone Bell, the Southern Regional Director for Lambda Legal. “Nondiscrimination policies like Charlotte’s are good and necessary measures that protect the LGBT community. Repealing Charlotte’s ordinance would be a step backward for equality, inclusion and fairness. Governor McCrory and the General Assembly need to stop pointing fingers, do the right thing and repeal all of H.B. 2’s harmful provisions.”
The ACLU, Lambda Legal and Equality North Carolina are challenging HB2 in federal court on behalf of six LGBT North Carolinians.
LGBT rights organizations and advocates are also asking community members to turn out to the meeting, which takes place at 5 p.m. at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E. 4th St., to thank the city council for standing up for LGBT rights and asking them to not back down.
MeckPAC released the following statement:
HB2 supporters are asking Charlotte to cave on LGBT protections — AGAIN. MeckPAC needs your support in protecting these rights and needs you to take action now.
HB2 has created economic losses that number in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Anti-LGBT state leaders are feeling the heat, and, now, some former HB2 supporters are asking Charlotte City Council for another “compromise” — the same measure Charlotte City Council rejected in May. This so-called compromise would strip away Charlotte’s historic ordinance and maintain anti-LGBT discrimination.
We cannot surrender to anti-LGBT bigotry. Charlotte must not capitulate on its progressive values.
MeckPAC is unwavering in its support of our allies on Charlotte City Council and Mayor Jennifer Roberts, and now we need you to contact them with your support. Thank them for passing the ordinance in February, supporting us again in May, and ask them now to stand up again one more time for LGBT equality. Find our allies’ contact information below and call or email them today.
Stay tuned for further updates!
Your MeckPAC Steering Committee
Mayor Jennifer Roberts: 704-336-3131, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles: 704-336-3431, email@example.com
Council member at-large Julie Eiselt: 704-336-4099, firstname.lastname@example.org
Council member at-large James Mitchell: 704-336-3430, email@example.com
Council member Patsy Kinsey: 704-336-3432, firstname.lastname@example.org
Council member Al Austin: 704-336-3185, email@example.com
Council member LaWana Mayfield: 704-336-3435, firstname.lastname@example.org
Council member John Autry: 704-336-2777, email@example.com
Equality North Carolina also put together a petition, which you can find here.