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Charlotte to consider adding protections for LGBT community

Charlotte to consider adding protections for LGBT community

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte, N.C., city council will move forward with further considerations on LGBT-inclusive protections in public accommodations and other city ordinances after hearing a proposal on Monday evening.

Charlotte, N.C.
Charlotte, N.C.

Scott Bishop, chair of the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee (MeckPAC), led the presentation on behalf of the ad-hoc Charlotte Non-Discrimination Ordinance Coalition.

“We feel it is time Charlotte keeps up with its peers around the country,” Bishop told Council. “We feel all residents should be treated fairly and equally. We feel arbitrary discrimination is detrimental to the peace process and welfare of the city. Updating these ordinances will help strengthen this community with an atmosphere of respect and inclusivity.”

The coalition is comprised of several groups including Equality North Carolina, the Charlotte Business Guild, Genderlines, LGBT Democrats of Mecklenburg County, the ACLU-Charlotte and the Human Rights Campaign.

The coalition wants to add several new protected classes — sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and marital or family status — to four of the city’s ordinances: Public Accommodations, Commercial Non-Discrimination, Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee and Passenger Vehicles for Hire.

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The city currently prohibits discrimination against its own employees on the basis of sexual orientation and, as noted in employment policies, on the basis of “actual or perceived gender as expressed through dress, appearance or behavior.”

Those protections, however, do not extend to employees in the private sector, and the proposal presented Monday night would not attempt to alter laws on private employment.

The city also offers benefits to same-gender domestic partners and spouses.

According to advocates, Charlotte is just one of three of the 20 largest cities in the U.S. lacking at least LGBT-inclusive public accommodations protections; the others are Memphis, Tenn., and Jacksonville, Fla.

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