In February 2016 the Charlotte City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in public accommodations or by passenger vehicles for hire or city contractors. In response the North Carolina General Assembly passed a sweeping law that overturned this ordinance, by superseding it as state law. Proposed in the General Assembly and signed with 24 hours on March 23, 2016, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (known as HB2), prevented municipalities in North Carolina from enacting anti-discrimination policies (which leaves LGBTQ persons without any specific protections), setting a local minimum wage, regulating child labor, or making certain regulations for city workers. The provision most frequently highlighted by the media required individuals to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender assigned on their birth certificate.
In response to HB2, a number of high-profile companies declined to locate or to expand their companies in North Carolina and numerous entertainers refused to perform in the state. The National Basketball Association (NBA) relocated its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, while the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) stripped numerous championship tournament games from the state. These, and numerous other economic boycotts, cost the state millions of dollars in revenue – an outcome which has cost thousands of people their jobs and their livelihood. Those most affected were low-income and hourly employees.
Due to the political pressure created by these boycotts and protests, as well as the election of Governor Roy Cooper over incumbent Pat McCrory, the North Carolina General Assembly repealed HB2 on March 30, 2017. Since the repeal of HB2, the NCAA and the ACC have begun to again award championship tournament games to the state. While these public acts probably signify an end to the economic boycott of North Carolina, which will bring relief to low-income and hourly workers by restoring needed jobs, the repeal of HB2 did not restore the protections for LGBTQ persons that the Charlotte City Council originally passed. Worse, they outlawed their timely restoration.
House Bill 142 (Session Law 2017-4), in addition to repealing HB2, made the regulation of public multiple occupancy restrooms and locker rooms an act of the North Carolina General Assembly, preempting an attempt by any state agency, institution or branch of government to provide protections or accommodations for LGBTQ persons. Furthermore, the statute temporarily prohibits any local government from enacting anti-discrimination policies regarding employment or public accommodations – eliminating the opportunity for the Charlotte City Council to reenact their ordinance until December 1, 2020.
We call on Alliance Baptists to a political activism grounded in a compassionate theology. Educate and inform your congregations and communities. Practice hospitality and inclusion. Speak out on behalf of those targeted for discrimination due to their gender orientation, expression, and identity. Contact your elected representatives.
As members and friends of the Alliance of Baptists attending the Annual Gathering in Raleigh, North Carolina, April 28-30, 2017…
We stand for the rights and protections of persons in the LGBTQ community and against policies that increase their exclusion and marginalization.
We stand for the inclusion of transgender persons in our churches and communities and against a lack of understanding that targets transgender persons by stereotyping.
We stand for bipartisan collaboration to address complex issues and against partisan loyalties that promote easy answers at the expense of real people.
We stand against the politics of fear that discriminates and divides: urban and rural, gay and straight, Democrat and Republican, rich and poor.
As a Baptist people, meeting in North Carolina, called to respect and cherish all humanity as the beautiful diversity of God’s creative genius, we call on the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal Sections 2, 3 & 4 of HB 142 (S.L. 2017-4), and we appeal to Governor Roy Cooper, Philip Berger, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and Tim Moore, Speaker of the House, to make a good faith effort to secure the rights of LGBTQ persons in North Carolina.