The Charlotte City Council, in rejecting a move to reverse itself on an ordinance protecting gay, lesbian and transgender individuals – part of which prompted the GOP-led General Assembly to enact the infamous HB2 – stood tall Monday.
Clearly under pressure from business interests and local leaders to give state GOP lawmakers a way out of a catastrophic mess they created, council members stayed with principle. Good for them.
The council’s anti-discrimination ordinance allowing transgender individuals to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity was overturned by Republican state lawmakers in a monumental case of big government interference in local matters. And lawmakers threw in limits on what local governments could do about raising the minimum wage of government workers (they can’t) and banned local governments from passing their own anti-discrimination laws.
The reaction has gone national, cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in economic investment through concerts and conventions, hindered universities in hiring and even prompted some states to prohibit public employees from traveling to North Carolina on business. A Charlotte Chamber of commerce report estimates that Mecklenburg County has suffered an economic blow of $285 million and a loss of as many as 1,300 jobs as a result of HB2.
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The council has tossed HB2 back to the General Assembly, where it began and must end.