After more than three hours of impassioned public comment Monday night, Charlotte City Council approved new legal protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people – a decision that will likely provoke a battle with the General Assembly, which could nullify the city’s historic vote.
Council members approved expanding the city’s existing nondiscrimination ordinance in a 7-4 vote.
The decision elicited cheers and hugs from supporters, many carrying signs that read “Facts Not Fear.” Opponents of the ordinance, many with signs that read, “Don’t Do It Charlotte,” were upset by the decision.
The changes mean businesses in Charlotte can’t discriminate against gay, lesbian or transgender customers, in addition to long-standing protections based on race, age, religion and gender. The ordinance applies to places of public accommodation, such as bars, restaurants and stores. It also applies to taxis.
This is big. This isn’t a typically liberal area of the country. This isn’t a goofy college town. This is the birthplace of Billy Graham. This is home to many church organizations and institutions. I expect and hope the state legislature will override this. Many in state government have already said they would.