Local Politics

Chapel Hill Town Council votes to pass ordinance broadly protecting LGBTQ community from discrimination.

Posted January 13, 2021 11:42 p.m. EST
Updated January 13, 2021 11:56 p.m. EST

A person waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, on Monday, June 15, 2020. The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a landmark civil rights law protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination, handing the movement for L.G.B.T. equality a stunning victory. (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times)

— Tonight the Town Council of Chapel Hill, North Carolina voted to pass an ordinance broadly protecting members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination. The ruling comes in the same week that Hillsborough and Carrboro passed similar ordinances. Municipalities regained the freedom to pass such measures on Dec. 1, 2020, following the expiration of a key prong of HB142.

Karen Stegman, Council Member of Chapel Hill, believes this is a huge step in the right direction.

“We have waited for the opportunity to take this important action to help ensure all who live, work, and visit our community can do so free of discrimination based on who they are, what they look like, how they worship, or who they love, Stegman said. "This ordinance represents our town’s commitment to working towards a community that is free from individual and institutional discrimination, where all can thrive.”

Kendra R. Johnson, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina, says that it was past time for the vote.

"With the backdrop of so much pain this week, North Carolinians have amazingly stepped up and demonstrated that our state is a beautiful place to be LGBTQ. For too long, North Carolina has lagged behind the rest of the nation when it comes to protecting LGBTQ folks and creating a culture where our most vulnerable can thrive. The tides are changing, and we hope other cities and towns across our state will be encouraged by these victories and do the right thing for their own citizens in the weeks ahead."

On Tuesday, Jan. 19, the Orange County Commission and Durham City Council will consider similar LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances, as momentum for non-discrimination protections continues to build across the state. According to polling, more than 67% of North Carolinians support non-discrimination measures.

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