North Carolina is one of the few states without a collection of anti-LGBT bills pending (aside from a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) proposed last year), but that could change if Gov. Pat McCrory (R) decides to retaliate against the city of Charlotte.
Last year, Charlotte’s City Council defeated an LGBT nondiscrimination law by a tight 6–5 vote, and this year, council members are once again considering a similar provision. This weekend, McCrory told two of the council members that if they approve the protections, the legislature will intervene and he will eagerly sign a bill banning bathroom access for transgender people.
Repeating the popular conservative myth that helped defeat Houston’s LGBT protections last fall, McCrory warned in an email that “changing basic restroom and locker room norms” will somehow put women and children at risk. “This shift in policy could also create major public safety issues by putting citizens in possible danger from deviant actions by individuals taking improper advantage of a bad policy. Also, this action of allowing a person with male anatomy, for example, to use a female restroom or locker room will most likely cause immediate State legislative intervention which I would support as governor.”
Admitting that as a previous mayor of Charlotte, he tries to avoid involving himself in the city’s affairs, he insisted that “the item of changing basic long-established values and norms of access to public restrooms is misguided and has major statewide ramifications.”
Several other cities and counties in North Carolina already offer at least employment protections based on gender identity, and the University of North Carolina system also protects gender identity in employment and admission — all of which similarly have implications for transgender individuals’ use of restrooms. The proposed provision in Charlotte specifically includes protections in public accommodations, which is partly why bathrooms and locker rooms have been a prominent part of the opposition’s message.
Over 119 people have signed up to speak at the Charlotte City Council’s meeting Monday night. The Council could vote as soon as the hearing is over. This year, however, at least eight of the 11 council members are prepared to support it.
After over 140 people testified on both sides of the issue, the Charlotte City Council approved the ordinance by a 7–4 vote.