LGBT advocates ask NC lawmakers to leave Charlotte ordinance alone

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – LGBT advocates spoke outside the General Assembly Thursday asking for North Carolina lawmakers to leave Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance alone.

The ordinance allows transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice.

Opponents of the ordinance want the Legislature to hold a special session but supporters say the state shouldn’t get involved.

Erica Lachowitz said she’s known since she was five years old that she identified as a woman.

She’s transgender and said she has used the women’s restroom for years.

“I go in the stall. I go to the bathroom and then I wash my hands and I leave. And they look at, what’s going on? ‘Oh, that was a man.’ For some reason that riles people up,” Lachowitz said.

In February, Charlotte passed a revised non-discrimination ordinance that said gay and transgender people cannot be discriminated against at businesses or at facilities, including restrooms.

“This is about protecting the most vulnerable citizens in all public accommodations,” said John Autry of the Charlotte City Council.

Others say it does the opposite.

“That’s not common sense, the kind of sense that fails to recognize that men in a women’s bathroom doesn’t create a situation that makes a woman or a child vulnerable to sexual assault,” said Rev. Mark Creech of the Christian Action League.

Activists aren’t the only ones divided on this.

CBS North Carolina found a mother and daughter who disagree about the ordinance, too.

“I’m completely for it because that’s not my decision. It’s personal,” said Sami Whitley.

Her mom, Libby Benton, is on the other side of the issue.

“There’s no need for sharing the bathrooms,” Benton said.

The revised ordinance takes effect April 1.

The General Assembly comes back into session on April 25.

Lawmakers have promised they’ll look at the ordinance.

But it is unknown if lawmakers will step in before April 1.

A special session would cost North Carolina about $42,000 a day.

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