The Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously passed a resolution in a special meeting Monday night calling for the repeal of the state’s new anti-discrimination measure and supporting the rights of the LGBT people.
House Bill 2, which was a measure designed to overturn Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance, was approved by the General Assembly in special session Wednesday and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory twelve hours later.
Chapel Hill town leaders said the omission of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression from the protected classes defined in the bill makes protection from discrimination unavailable to members of the LGBT community. The said the bill also diminishes the legislative authority of local governments to craft their own anti-discrimination laws.
“The legislation demonstrates a lack of knowledge and understanding of the experiences of transgender people; a lack of respect for the dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people; and a discriminatory intent and a desire to use such intent for political gain on the part of the General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory,” the resolution read, in part.
The approved resolution commended the members of the Charlotte City Council and Orange County Board of Commissioners for the passage of their local nondiscrimination ordinances and urged the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal House Bill 2 “at the earliest opportunity.”
The resolution also encouraged Chapel Hill businesses to provide a welcoming environment for LGBT people.
“The Town Council encourages all businesses providing public accommodations in Chapel Hill and throughout North Carolina to demonstrate their support for the dignity of all people by openly welcoming LGBT people to their places of business and by providing gender-nonspecific bathroom facilities for their customers and employees wherever practicable,” the resolution stated.
A separate resolution passed by the Town Council Monday night said that legislators who voted for House Bill 2 should be held accountable and condemned the actions “of the governor who signed this hateful bill and the actions of all the legislators who have voted for this hateful bill.”
Prior to the passage of the resolutions, Anndal Narayanan, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate student, told the council Monday night what House Bill 2 means to him in his day to day life.
"This bill makes me feel very insecure on a personal level," Narayanan said. "I have to choose between breaking the law or using the restroom."
One man, who did not want to give his name, said he takes issue with how the legislation seems to walk over local government.
"You, the town, given your sovereign authority by the consent of the governed are allowed to spend your money however you see fit," he said. "I am a gay Republican and this bill is contrary to my conservative values."
In an interview earlier Monday, McCrory said complaints about the bill are overblown.
"My message is the same as it has been. We have not taken away any rights that existed in any city in North Carolina," McCrory said.
The Governor said he will continue to make that case.
'I've had very positive conversations with many, many different parties who, once they get the facts, they go 'we understand'," he said.
The opposition to House Bill 2 will be visible on the streets of Chapel Hill Tuesday, when nearly a dozen rainbow flags will be placed on poles along Franklin Street at the request of the mayor.
Chapel Hill is not the only local town considering a resolution to stand against House Bill 2. Monday night, the Winston-Salem City Council voted to entertain a resolution at an upcoming council meeting to "examine the legal and moral authority" of the bill. The town of Carrboro passed a similar resolution last week.