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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 23, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 39
Charlotte to McCrory: No compromise

City won't repeal LGBT protections to get state to repeal HB 2, mayor says
Section One
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Charlotte to McCrory: No compromise

City won't repeal LGBT protections to get state to repeal HB 2, mayor says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Charlotte, N.C., will not repeal its ordinance protecting LGBT residents as part of a compromise with state officials to get them to repeal the anti-LGBT HB 2.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts turned down the proposed deal on September 19, as local LGBT leaders accused Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican lawmakers of 'holding Charlotte hostage.'

McCrory has been under pressure from business leaders to repeal HB 2 and end the nationwide boycott of North Carolina, which has already cost the state more than $395 million. Republican legislative leaders had made dropping the city ordinance a condition for repealing HB 2.

However, Charlotte's city attorney wrote a memo to the City Council saying that the state legislature doesn't need the city to rescind its ordinance in order to repeal HB2.

'Some people don't realize there's no legal reason for Charlotte to do anything, and that's the point we want to make clear to the community,' Roberts told the Charlotte Observer newspaper.

HB 2 was passed in retaliation against Charlotte's civil rights ordinance. The state law repealed the Charlotte measure, forbade other cities from passing similar laws, and specified - among other anti-LGBT measures - that Trans North Carolinians must use restrooms that correspond to the gender assigned them at birth. State Rep. Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, called HB 2 'the worst anti-LGBT law in the nation.'

Meanwhile, McCrory was embarrassed when the Charlotte Observer revealed that his staff had planted questions at a September 16 press conference to prevent reporters covering the event from asking him questions about HB 2.

According to the Observer's editorial page editor, the moderator of the press event introduced three questions by saying they were from the Charlotte Observer. The questions were, in fact, from the governor's own staff, an event organizer said later.

When the Observer's editor then tried to ask McCrory a question, he objected.

'We've got three Observer questions answered already,' the governor said. 'I think you guys dominate the news enough.'

'When the event was over, McCrory did not meet with the reporters who were there,' the Observer editor wrote. 'He ducked out a side door and down a hall that led to a back exit. I followed him to try to ask him about HB 2, but his staff blocked me.'

McCrory spokesperson Ricky Diaz acknowledged that the governor's re-election campaign provided the questions but said 'we were asked to in order to keep the conversation format going.'

McCrory is currently lagging behind his challenger, Attorney General Roy Cooper, in polling, with 44% to Cooper's 48.7%.

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