North Carolina News

Gov. McCrory signs bill overruling Charlotte transgender ordinance

By WNCN Staff - RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - The North Carolina General Assembly on Wednesday overrode a Charlotte ordinance set to take effect April 1 that impacts transgender people and Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill Wednesday night.

The Charlotte ordinance would have allowed transgender people to use the restroom of their gender identity.

The bill -- passed during a special session -- also included a section on wage and hour laws, where local governments could not impose conditions on how a business pays its employees.

The bill passed the House Wednesday afternoon and headed to the Senate for consideration. It passed the Senate 32-0 after Democrats walked out.

Just after 10 p.m. the governor's office said that McCrory signed the bill Wednesday evening.  The new bill goes into effect on April 1, McCrory said.

"The governor is expected to sign the bill tonight," Josh Ellis, McCrory's communications director, said in an email to CBS North Carolina.

The bill establishes a person's biological sex as that stated on their birth certificate.

"The basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte," McCrory said in an email announcing he signed the bill.

House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, said in a statement, "I am glad that my colleagues joined together today to pass this bill that overrules the foolish and dangerous restroom ordinance passed by the city council and mayor of Charlotte.

"North Carolinians have spoken loud and clear that they are deeply concerned about what this ordinance means for the safety and expectation of privacy for women and children. In all the years I have served in the General Assembly I have never seen such a negative reaction to an ordinance passed by a municipality."

And Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, said, "Today, the members of the North Carolina General Assembly listened to the voices of their constituents who were reasonably concerned by the grave dangers of Charlotte's harmful bathroom ordinance. The General Assembly recognized the harmful implications Charlotte's bathroom ordinance would have had on North Carolina's economy and the safety and privacy of women and children, had it been allowed to take effect on April 1."

Representatives for gay-rights groups said overturning the ordinance is wrong and demonizing the transgender community. They say blocking the ordinance will deny lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people essential protections needed to ensure they can get a hotel room, hail a taxi or dine at a restaurant without fear.

"Rather than expand nondiscrimination laws to protect all North Carolinians, the General Assembly instead spent $42,000 to rush through an extreme bill that undoes all local nondiscrimination laws and specifically excludes gay and transgender people from legal protections," said Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. At least 225 cities and counties nationwide have passed similar anti-discrimination laws, according to the Associated Press.

At least 225 cities and counties nationwide have passed similar anti-discrimination laws, according to the Associated Press.

The matter drew intense interest Wednesday at the General Assembly.

Chris Sgro of Equality NC called on the legislators to "reject fear." And transgender woman Angela Bridgeman said, "I have the right to be safe, too."

But others called on the legislators to override the Charlotte decision.

High school student Chloe Jefferson said, "I'm not the only girl scared at the prospect of having to change in front of boys."The bill also included some significant other provisions not related to the Charlotte issue.

On wages, the bill said, " A county may not require a private contractor under this section to abide by regulations or controls on the 7 contractor's employment practices or mandate or prohibit the provision of goods, services, or 8 accommodations to any member of the public as a condition of bidding on a contract or a 9 qualification-based selection, except as otherwise required by State law."


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