CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A group led by First Baptist Church Pastor Mark Harris, who appeared on local radio this morning to oppose LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances in the city, is running a radio ad against the proposed laws.
The ad, like other most other materials used by those opposed, builds on scare tactics surrounding transgender people and their use of bathrooms.
“I’d be really scared if a man shared a bathroom with my daughter, yet this nightmare could become a reality right here in Charlotte if we don’t speak up quickly,” a female narrator says. “On Monday, March 2, Charlotte City Council votes on the bathroom bill. For our children’s safety, let’s call and email our City COuncil members and Mayor Clodfelter now and show up at 4 p.m. at the government center for the City Council meeting,” with an male narrator adding, “Demand your City Council do the right thing and vote down the bathroom bill.”
You can listen to the ad below:
The ad is running on WBT, a local, conservative-leaning news-talk station, and is paid for by Faith Matters NC, a group vice-chaired by First Baptist’s Mark Harris.
Harris had told his supporters two weeks ago that he wanted to run the ad. It’s expected to run over the weekend.
The ad picks up on often-used scare and smear campaigns, linking transgender people to sexual predators. But, in 17 states and nearly 200 local governments where these and similar policies have been adopted, there are no reported or documented evidence of transgender people engaging in abuse or predation. The reality, say proponents of the LGBT-inclusive ordinances, is quite the opposite: transgender people are more likely to face harassment, abuse and violence.
In a morning radio appearance on WBT, Harris addressed the ad and other talking points, telling host Keith Larson that he stands against the ordinance because of the bathroom issue. Additionally, he says the ordinance would violate religious freedoms.
Chris Sgro, executive director of the statewide Equality NC, also appeared on the WBT show. He said Harris’ bathroom scare tactics are red herrings, and said the ordinance was needed to protect LGBT people in a wide range of city services, public accommodations like restaurants and hotels, city commercial contracting and elsewhere.
Local proponents of the ordinances are also encouraging their supporters to attend the Charlotte City Council meeting, March 2, 600 E. Fourth St. They’re asking supporters to show up beginning at 4 p.m. (Click here for a Facebook event page.)