LGBT citizens head to Raleigh amid flurry of right-wing legislation

Equality NC to focus on LGBT state employee protections

LGBT citizens will converge on the North Carolina General Assembly on Tuesday to address LGBT worker protections and more. Photo Credit: Dave Crosby, via Flickr. Licensed CC.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Citizens from across the state will head to Raleigh on Tuesday to participate in a lobby day planned by Equality North Carolina, a statewide LGBT education and advocacy organization.

Micah Johnson, director of school outreach and gay-straight alliance support at Charlotte’s Time Out Youth, said he and four other young people affiliated with his group will attend tomorrow’s lobby day.

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“Regardless of whether you are voting age or not, I think it is important for any person to be a part of the civic process,” Johnson said.

The youth group’s trip to Raleigh was in response to their youths’ “desire to get more involved with bigger decision making,” Johnson said. “This is one way they can learn the concrete skills to do that.”

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Equality North Carolina has said it will be focusing its attention on several bills aimed at extending workplace protections to LGBT state employees and teachers.

Other issues, too, could be up for discussion as citizens meet with their legislators to address their concerns. The Republican-led General Assembly has taken up several controversial, right-wing pieces of legislation recently. A resolution asserting the state’s right to establish an official religion got the most national attention, but citizens have also voiced concerns about other bills, including an attempt to restrict voting by college students and a bill hat would prevent co-ed and gender-neutral housing at The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The legislature has also sought to pass a voter identification law and extend the waiting period for divorcing couples from one year to two. Earlier this session, the legislature successfully passed legislation lowering unemployment benefits and rejecting federal funds for Medicaid expansion under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act reforms.

The lobby day is scheduled to begin at 9:15 a.m. at the North Carolina History Museum Auditorium. Participants will hear a short address from Equality North Carolina Executive Director Stuart Campbell and participate in a short lobbying training before attending appointments with state legislators. Participants are invited to “Pack the House” in the chamber’s gallery as it opens tomorrow’s session. A social and networking hour will be held in the evening.

For more information on the lobby day, visit equalitync.org/lobbyday/.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.