Pressure builds for Charlotte to repeal non-discrimination ordinance

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Despite calls from the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and state leaders, the Charlotte City Council took no action Monday night to repeal its non-discrimination ordinance.

Dozens of LGBT activists with the Human Rights Campaign cheered at the City Council meeting when Mayor Jennifer Roberts announced the council is standing firm.

"The state's the one that took these rights away and they should be the one to fix it," JoDee Winterhof, with the Human Rights Campaign, said.

State leaders, including Gov. Pat McCrory, have criticized Roberts for siding with the Human Rights Campaign and refusing to compromise.

"Despite offering a very reasonable solution and compromise for North Carolina, it's obvious that (Washington) D.C. special interest political pressures on elected Charlotte city officials -- and even our own attorney general -- again derailed common sense," McCrory said. "It's time to respect our constitutional process and recognize how our cities, state and federal government define gender in the future will most likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court."

The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce called on local and state leaders to compromise.

The Chamber asked the Charlotte City Council to take action. If council repeals its non-discrimination ordinance, McCrory said he would call a special session to repeal the controversial law.

Council members took calls all weekend from local, state and national officials.
 
Channel 9 confirmed Sunday most members, including Vi Lyles, were in favor of not repealing the ordinance.
 
"We don't have to help the state out because the state can take this action. In fact, they are the only people who can take this action," Lyles said.

Roberts is asking the state to repeal House Bill 2 without Charlotte having to repeal its ordinance.

"We appreciate the state wanting to find a solution to the challenges we are facing and applaud the governor for recognizing the state should overturn HB2, which the state can do at any time without any action from the city of Charlotte," Roberts said. "We urge the state to take action as soon as possible and encourage continued dialogue with the broader community."

Not all council members are happy. Democratic council member at-large Claire Fallon said she's frustrated that her colleagues won't budge on the issue.

"I wish we had statesmen, and not politicians, who did what was best for the city. It's bleeding," Fallon said. "Everybody has their own agenda getting elected and everything else, which is very unimportant in the scheme of things."

Roberts' released the following statement Monday, Sept. 19:

“The City of Charlotte continues its commitment to be a welcoming community that honors and respects all people. We appreciate the state wanting to find a solution to the challenges we are facing and applaud the governor for recognizing the state should overturn HB2, which the state can do at any time without any action from the City of Charlotte. We are not prepared to add this item to our agenda this evening, however, we urge the state to take action as soon as possible and encourage continued dialogue with the broader community.”

Equality NC issued the following statement Friday, Sept. 16:

"We can't afford more antics from Pat McCrory, Phil Berger, and Tim Moore. They are the ones who got us in this situation in the first place and are costing our state millions,” said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina. “Hundreds of other cities across the nation already had in place a similar ordinance to Charlotte's. While important to the LGBT community, it was not unique. What is unique and dangerous is HB2. It's HB2 that cost us the NCAA, ACC, and the NBA. It's HB2 that's causing us economic harm, and it's HB2 that needs to be repealed. Enough games and blame - repeal HB2."

House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) issued the following statement on the mayor's decision.

“Rather than trying to seek a solution that would reset a contentious debate, Mayor Roberts and her allies, including Roy Cooper and special interest groups, have decided that they would rather play a game of politics than take steps toward a solution. It now seems clear that all along Mayor Roberts and Roy Cooper have been engaging in political theater to the detriment of the entire state, and this explains why they have refused to heed the calls to act from the business community and from people on all sides of the political spectrum.”

Attorney General Roy Cooper issued a statement Monday, Sept. 19:

“The damage to our economy must be stopped and it is clear that full repeal of HB2 will accomplish this. The Governor should call for a special session today. It’s time for the Governor to be a leader, not a follower.”

CIAA Tournament could be jeopardy

First it was the NCAA, then the ACC, and now Channel 9 has learned the CIAA Tournament in Charlotte could be in jeopardy because of concerns about House Bill 2.

Johnson C. Smith University president and CIAA Board Chairman Dr. Ronald Carter talked one-on-one with Channel 9.

He said just like the NCAA and the ACC, the CIAA has a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“When we feel these values are threatened we have an obligation to ask how do we respond,” Carter said.

Carter said they face a dilemma because pulling out of the tournament could mean penalties, which could hurt student scholarships.

CIAA Board members will meet next week to discuss the issue.

Stay with wsoctv.com for updates on this developing story.

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