Abolishing Local Liberty Bills...Just Another Regressive Setback to the Progress Made in the Battle Against Discrimination
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II
Senate Bill 279 was introduced in the late hours of Monday night. It is being considered in the Legislature today. Click here to call or send an email to Senate Leader Berger and Speaker Moore to let them know you oppose SB 279, "Restricting Municipalities from Protecting All People"
September 29, 2015
Regression seems to be the only familiar ideal for this general assembly. In the last 48 hours, this general assembly has engaged in three last minute sneak attacks against the people of the state of North Carolina: HB 318, the anti-immigration bill; HB 539, the charter school funding bill, and the most recent SB 279 anti-LGBT bill. This last bill could prevent local governments from protecting individuals against discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity in public accommodations and fair housing.
This bill could repeal nearly ALL local non-discrimination laws, protecting against discrimination in housing and public accommodations, including those prohibiting discrimination based on race and gender. This bill would repeal many city non-discrimination ordinances that we fought for and won in the 1960's to provide protections against racial discrimination. While federal law may continue to afford protections in this area, more analysis would need to be done to determine if any holes would be left by the elimination of these local laws. However, today there are no federal laws that protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and it is clear that the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) community will suffer the most if this bill becomes law.
The passing of this bill is a desecration to the martyrs of the civil rights movement who fought and won countless battles against discrimination, including those battles for equal protection in public accommodations and fair housing. In addition to being backwards and immoral, this bill sets North Carolina up to fail. It will put North Carolina out of step with the rest of the country and prohibit our cities from being able to compete for the best jobs and the best residents.
While the country is moving toward greater acceptance of the LGBT community, passing this bill will set the state of North Carolina back to the end of the pack. Nearly 80% of Americans, including 70% of Republicans and 77% of observant Christians, support workplace protections for LGBT people. While eight states have considered this type of discriminatory legislation, only two have passed an Abolishing Local Liberty Bill. This would make North Carolina one of the most intolerant states in the country.
Economic research shows that sustainable urban growth is highly correlated with a city’s LGBT inclusiveness, which is a major reason why cities choose to pass non-discrimination ordinances. The passage of this bill is proof that certain members of this general assembly are owned by extreme special interest groups and not governed by the values of the people of this state.
Let us stand together to call on Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger to oppose this mean-spirited and ill-advised bill. It is not too late to stand on the right side of history.
The struggle against this general assembly continues and we must fight back…Forward Together!