CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — 1:10 p.m.
North Carolina’s only openly gay lawmaker is criticizing state Republican leaders for pressuring the city of Charlotte to back down from its efforts to protect LGBT people.
Chris Sgro is executive director of Equality North Carolina and is filling out the term of a state representative who died in office. He blames the Republican governor and House and Senate leaders for “losing one of our grand traditions in college basketball,” a reference to last week’s decision by the NCAA to pull its championships out of the state.
He says that 180 days later, “the architects of this disaster” should “step up, admit their mistake and provide the leadership necessary to repeal HB2.”
Instead, he says these lawmakers are focused on another number: “They are seeing 50 days until an election.”
Sgro said he’s proud that Charlotte’s mayor is standing up for the city’s values of diversity and inclusion.
Charlotte city leaders and proponents of LGBT rights held a news conference outside the government center to make another call on the N.C. General Assembly to repeal legislation limiting protections for the gay community.
Mayor Jennifer Roberts says she applauds Gov. Pat McCrory for recognizing the need to repeal HB2, which she said the state could do at any time without action from her city council. But Roberts reiterated an earlier statement saying the city council was not prepared to add the issue of repealing the city ordinance on Monday’s agenda.
The state law was passed in March in response to Charlotte’s ordinance expanding anti-discrimination protections.
North Carolina Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory have offered a deal to Charlotte: we’ll consider rescinding a state law limiting LGBT anti-discrimination protections, but you must first repeal the city ordinance that led to House Bill 2.
Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts’ response basically amounts to “no, you move first.”
In a statement Monday, she notes Republicans don’t need Charlotte to withdraw its local protections covering sexual orientation and gender identity before repealing the state law that has cost North Carolina major sporting events. Meanwhile, she said the city council won’t address the issue at its meeting Monday evening.
Before Charlotte’s ordinance could take effect last spring, Republicans held a special session to block all local governments from passing similar rules, and to limit bathroom options for transgender people.