Vote Expected Monday on Additions to Charlotte’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance
CHARLOTTE, NC – Monday night, City Council members are expected to decide whether to add additional non-discrimination language to the city’s current ordinance.
“It already is an inclusive place to live, but it needs to show it in it’s laws and ordinances,” says Scott Bishop, with the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee.
Bishop is leading the push to add more LGBT protections to Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance. “There’s only three cities in the top 20 that do not have these kinds of protections in place for LGBT citizens,” Bishop says.
The changes would add to who is protected when at places like public restrooms, restaurants, or taxi cabs. The law would say people couldn’t be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and family or marital status.
Those terms would be added to a list that already includes race, color, religion, and national origin.
“It just seems to set up a solution to problem that doesn’t exist,” says Dr. Mark Harris, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Charlotte. Harris has rallied against the changes. Friday, he sent Council members a letter signed by almost 100 business and religious leaders.
He says the ordinance could open up businesses to lawsuits and that there needs to be more community input. “A more balanced group to study and look at the issue and see, a) is there a problem, which I’m not convinced there is, and b) how is best to address it,” Harris says.