Just in from the Democratic National Committee:
When the Charlotte city council expanded protections for transgender people with a new ordinance last month, Republicans in the North Carolina state legislature were so disgusted that they announced they would take the unusual step of convening a special session today in order to block it.
But for one of the most extreme legislatures in the country, dragging one city backwards wasn’t enough. Instead of destroying just one progressive ordinance in one city, the legislation they passed in today’s special session blocks all LGBT non-discrimination ordinances passed by any local government across the entire state, and protects businesses that discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. But they didn’t stop there. State lawmakers took the opportunity to overreach even more by forbidding North Carolina cities from raising the minimum wage with living wage ordinances.
“This is sadly unsurprising from a party that seems determined to stay stuck in the Stone Age on LGBT equality. From their refusal to accept marriage equality as the law of the land, to their disingenuous ‘free speech’ and ‘religious freedom’ justifications for discrimination, Republicans are hurting Americans who deserve the full and equal protection of the law. Now the same state lawmakers who pretend to love limited government are steamrolling over local officials just because they had the courage to stand up for transgender rights. Our friends in the LGBT community deserve better and so do all the people of North Carolina,” said DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“While Republicans in DC refuse to do their job in confirming a Supreme Court justice, Republicans in North Carolina are calling a special session to repeal every local non-discrimination law protecting the LGBT community across the entire state. They’d rather spend the taxpayer’s money to take away the rights of North Carolina’s citizens than deal with the massive cuts to education they have also forced on families,” said Earl Fowlkes, chair of the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic National Committee.
“What we’re seeing here is a more extreme version of the radical ‘Right to Discriminate’ laws that have failed in other states like Indiana. Rather than requiring a ‘religious objection’ to discriminate, which is already bad enough, this wholesale repeal of all municipal non-discrimination laws in the entire state is a new low. This proposed bill gives businesses, like hotels and restaurants, a license to discriminate against gay and transgender people with total impunity. And that is simply wrong,” said Ryan Butler, chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party’s LGBT Caucus.
This follows recent actions in Republican controlled legislatures in Georgia, Kentucky, and Missouri to pass Indiana-style ‘Right to Discriminate’ laws that would permit businesses and others to discriminate against LGBT people.