House speaker promises one-day session on Charlotte ordinance

Posted March 22, 2016
Updated March 24, 2016

House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland

— House Speaker Tim Moore said Tuesday that lawmakers plan to take quick action on a Charlotte nondiscrimination ordinance when they return to Raleigh on Wednesday for a special legislative session.

The ordinance broadly defines how businesses treat gay, lesbian and transgender customers, but a provision that would allow transgendered people to use public bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity created an outcry among social conservatives and legislative leaders such as Moore, R-Cleveland.

“We try to defer to local government as far, as much as we can, but when a local government goes on such a radical course and a reckless course, we in the General Assembly have, I think, not only the authority but actually the duty to do something about it, and in this case, we’re going to,” he said.

House and Senate leaders hope to push legislation through both chambers in a matter of hours Wednesday that would overturn the Charlotte ordinance, which is scheduled to take effect April 1.

Although a bill hasn’t been drafted yet, Moore said it will ban local nondiscrimination laws and replace them with a statewide law. He couldn't say whether the state law would include protections for sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sarah Preston, acting executive director of the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said critics of the Charlotte ordinance have highlighted the bathroom provision to foster fear and encourage people to oppose nondiscrimination laws.

Several conservative groups on Monday called for lawmakers to approve a so-called religious freedom bill, saying local ordinances such as Charlotte’s infringe on the right of business owners who might not want to serve LGBT customers because of their religious beliefs.

“Charlotte chose to pass this nondiscrimination ordinance to try to provide for protections for everyone in their community in areas such as public accommodations,” Preston said. “What we’re hearing in response to that is a lot of vitriol and stigmatization of certain parts of the community that’s really unnecessary.

“That's really the problem with all of this discussion,” she continued. “It really should be about how do we pass ordinances that treat everyone fairly and don't discriminate, and instead, they're focusing on how to stigmatize particular elements of our community. “

Moore said the bill also could include language that would ban so-called living wage laws that raise the local minimum wage in cities and counties.


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  • Phillip Mozingo Mar 24, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    What you're saying makes no sense. I'm cool with equality and always have been but you're saying I can put on a wig and fake breasts and walk into a women's restroom just because I identify with being a female? I don't think so and your reasoning is absurd!

  • Fanny Chmelar Mar 23, 2016
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    This is going to be another expensive experiment in Republicans (not conservatives) trying to say small government out one side of their mouth while telling you how to live your life out the other - and using fear to blur the line.

    Transgender bathroom access is one piece of the ordinance. There are many other protections in it for our citizens that they'll be steamrolling over, too, but they're using fear to drive their election-year agenda by focusing on who relieves themselves where.

    It's a distraction they're coating in lies about women and children being attacked - and that's a bald faced lie about as factual as saying unicorns are going to attack us.

    The crux is this: our state government is against anti-discrimination ordinances.

    Think about that. Let it sink in. When it does, file it away for when you cast your next vote.

    View quoted thread

    Equality is the solution, not special accommodations. The solution already works other places!

  • Phillip Mozingo Mar 23, 2016
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    I think a suitable solution to all of this is to require all counties and cities within the state to build gender/neutral restrooms aside from the standard men and women's restrooms. 4 restrooms per business. That will end the problem once and for all.

  • Duane Putnam Mar 23, 2016
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    $40,000 per day! That is my money you are wasting! Let your Republikook state committee foot the tab for your purely partisan session.
    Do state business and let the cities and counties do theirs!

  • New Holland Mar 23, 2016
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    Hard to believe that were spending NC taxpayers money to bring these folks back for one day to try to pass a law that most people don't want. Who in Raleigh cares what Charlotte does like this. If you don't like it then don't take your business($$) to Charlotte, but so far i haven't seen where companies are moving out and people are fleeing in droves.
    It's getting scary that our State legislature in getting into the business of controlling cities and counties business.
    Too bad Charlotte voters can't vote for or against Mr. Moore, maybe if the legislature starts issuing laws for one of the 100 counties, then maybe that county's voters should get the chance to vote on the speaker's election.

  • Paul Maxwell Mar 22, 2016
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    The 'small government party' strikes again. An appropriate epithet didn't make it past WRAL's moderator/censor, but it is fairly evident what group these yo-yos belong to.