N.C. Cities Pass ‘Nondiscrimination’ Ordinances, This Time Without Bathroom Policy | Beaufort County Now | Five years after House Bill 2 put North Carolina at the center of national controversy, cities in the state’s liberal enclaves are once again discussing discrimination and the LGBT community. | carolina journal, nondiscrimination ordinances, bathroom policy

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

N.C. Cities Pass ‘Nondiscrimination’ Ordinances, This Time Without Bathroom Policy

Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is Andrew Dunn.

    Five years after House Bill 2 put North Carolina at the center of national controversy, cities in the state's liberal enclaves are once again discussing discrimination and the LGBT community.

    Six cities and counties in North Carolina have passed ordinances that designate sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes, and LGBT advocates are now pushing two dozen more to follow suit.

    But the new ordinances studiously avoid the flashpoint of 2016 — bathroom policy for transgender people. Both LGBT advocates and the General Assembly appear hesitant to wade back in to that debate.

    The six new ordinances are nearly identical and largely symbolic. They prohibit businesses from denying services or employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as federally protected classes like race, religion, sex and disability. Several also include prohibitions against discrimination based on hairstyles "commonly associated with race or national origin."

    Under most of the new ordinances, violators can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined $500 per day.

    These moves renew a debate that began in 2016, when the city of Charlotte passed a sweeping nondiscrimination ordinance that protected gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. More controversially, Charlotte's ordinance also allowed people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify, a measure aimed at making transgender people more comfortable.

    Opponents feared that people would abuse the ordinance to illicitly use women's bathrooms and changing facilities. Legal experts also said Charlotte's ordinance essentially outlawed separate men's and women's restrooms.

    In response, the General Assembly passed and then-Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2, a measure that undid Charlotte's ordinance and required people to use the bathroom of their biological sex in public buildings.

    The law touched off a national firestorm. The NBA moved its All-Star Game planned for Charlotte out of state, businesses canceled expansions and entertainers canceled performances as a form of protest.

    Gov. Roy Cooper campaigned for office on repealing H.B. 2, and did so in March 2017.

    The repeal bill included a provision that cities could not pass nondiscrimination ordinances, a provision with a sunset in December 2020.

    Hillsborough became the first N.C. city to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance since the sunset, on Jan. 11. Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro, and Orange County quickly followed suit.

    Mecklenburg County has passed a resolution professing support for the LGBT community but has not yet considered an ordinance.

    LGBT advocacy group Equality N.C. is lobbying nearly two dozen cities, counties and towns — big and small — to pass their ordinance next:

  • Asheville
  • Black Mountain
  • Boone
  • Buncombe County
  • Cary
  • Charlotte
  • Davidson
  • Davidson County
  • Fayetteville
  • Gastonia
  • Greenville
  • Hendersonville
  • High Point
  • Huntersville
  • Matthews
  • Mecklenburg County
  • Raleigh
  • Rocky Mount
  • Statesville
  • Watauga County
  • Weaverville
  • Wilmington
  • Winston-Salem

    Organizations like the N.C. Family Policy Council and the N.C. Values Coalition have lined up against the new ordinances, saying they violate women's privacy and could harm religious institutions and faith-based businesses. For example, churches or mosques would not be able to take sexual orientation or gender identity into account when hiring even if their religious doctrine spoke to the matter.

    General Assembly leaders have been relatively quiet on the new ordinances but have indicated they will not act unless these potential problems become widespread.

    A spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, declined to comment. In an interview with Spectrum News, Berger said that any next steps would come from private legal actions if small business owners felt their religious liberty in jeopardy — not a new law.

    "The courts are probably the appropriate forum for us to look at," he said.

    Andrew Dunn is a freelance writer for Carolina Journal.


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

As the N.C. State Board of Education votes Thursday, March 4, to reopen schools, a far-left teachers’ union is trying to deny that children are suffering from learning loss.
Top aides of Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reportedly pressured state health department officials to alter a report to remove the total number of nursing home residents who died from the coronavirus.
Group 4 vaccinations to begin March 24 for people who have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk or who live in certain congregate settings


Jim Geraghty of National Review Online notes a disturbing tendency among some political observers.
This article is dedicated to our great Founding Fathers - men who had the courage, the foresight, and the wisdom to secure the freedom that I exercise and enjoy every single day. - Diane Rufino
Exec. Order No. 200 Establishes Flexible Work Search Requirements to Help Bridge Employment Gap
This nearly one-third reduction of state debt frees up the General Funds budget for other priorities, as annual debt service payments become less burdensome.
Goldman Sachs announced on Thursday that it is setting a new goal to reach a carbon-emission level of net-zero by the year 2030.


A majority of North Carolina public school students failed to pass end-of-course tests in fall 2020, according to new data from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.


Back to Top