The North Carolina Influencer Series

Should NC expand hate crimes law to include LGBTQ people? Leaders disagree.

At least 25 transgender people were killed in 2017 across the U.S., including Derricka Banner and Sherrell Faulkner, both of Charlotte. These photos of transgender people killed in 2017 were part of a display at Transgender Remembrance Day last November in Pittsfiled, Mass.
At least 25 transgender people were killed in 2017 across the U.S., including Derricka Banner and Sherrell Faulkner, both of Charlotte. These photos of transgender people killed in 2017 were part of a display at Transgender Remembrance Day last November in Pittsfiled, Mass. AP

Using the Your Voice tool, we asked readers what questions they had about LGBTQ issues in North Carolina. The question that resonated most with them was: “Should North Carolina expand its hate crimes statute to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people?” We submitted that question to the NC Influencers and here is a sampling of their responses:

Bob Page, CEO Replacements, Ltd.

“When we choose to protect some minority groups from being attacked, but not others, we make clear that the groups we exclude are undeserving of equal treatment under the law. That kind of exclusion seeps into the culture, and allows some to dehumanize others.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen an increase in crime across the nation against the transgender community, and we cannot allow that to happen here in North Carolina. LGBTQ rights are human rights.; we are fundamentally the same as everyone else and we deserve equal treatment and protection under the law.”

Bob Page.jpg
Bob Page

Hugh McColl, retired Bank of America CEO

“Why not, a hate crime is a hate crime. Let’s make NC safe for everyone.”

Hugh McColl.jpg
Hugh McColl

Jim Martin, Governor 1985-1993

“Hate crimes violate existing laws with no need for separating us further into innumerable, self-selected victim categories.”

Jim Martin

Michael Marsicano, President and CEO, Foundation For The Carolinas

“Yes, North Carolina should expand its hate crimes statute to include LGBTQ citizens because members of the LGBTQ community are subject to crimes motivated by hate. It doesn’t get any more straight forward than that.”

Dr. James Johnson, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School; director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center

“Yes, the size of the population, their purchasing power, and the number of LGBT owned and operated businesses demands that we do so. Above and beyond these economic reasons, it is simply the right thing to do.”

Dr. James Johnson

Vivian Howard, Chef, author, TV host, advocate for Eastern NC

“Hate crimes are hate crimes no matter who they target. So yes.”

vivian-howard crop.jpg
Vivian Howard

Mike Easley, Governor 2001-2009

“As district attorney in the 1980s I prosecuted several cases where gays were targeted, robbed and assaulted because they were gay. I would have preferred to have the additional hate crimes charge.”

Mike Easley

Pat McCrory, Governor 2013-2017

“I believe all violent crimes are hate crimes for the victims regardless of what criminals try to rationalize for their unacceptable behavior.”

Mark Jewell, President, North Carolina Association of Educators

“Yes, LGBTQ teens and adults are more likely to be targets of hate crimes than other groups of people and North Carolina’s laws should reflect that. Excluding them sends a terrible signal that violence against them is acceptable. One in five hate crimes reported to the FBI was because of sexual orientation, or in some cases perceived orientation.”

Joan Zimmerman, CEO Southern Shows Inc.

“HATE is hate - crimes of any kind, whether subtle, violent, or discriminatory should be punished - regardless of race, age, gender, or sexual orientation. Again, the emphasis is on PEOPLE. The sooner we can stop placing people into certain categories, the better off we will be.”

Joan Zimmerman 2018.jpg
Joan Zimmerman

Mark Vitner, Senior Economist, Wells Fargo

“Hate crimes should be expanded to include everyone that is target for a crime due to their status, whatever that is. The purpose of hate crime legislation is to cover two victims - the person victimized and the group that was the target of the attack.”

Ashley Christensen, Chef, restaurateur, food activist, philanthropist

“Yes. Because these are human beings, and are at a higher risk of violence based on who they are and who they love.”

Ashley Christensen.jpg
Ashley Christensen

Walter Dalton, President, Isothermal Community College; Lt. Governor, 2009-2013

“Yes. It has been said that there is an epidemic of hate violence against marginalized communities. Law-abiding citizens should not be violently attacked for being who they are.”

Richard Vinroot, law partner, Charlotte mayor 1991-1995

“Yes, because no one should be subject to such behavior, on any basis.”

Bishop Claude Alexander, Senior Pastor The Park Church

“Yes. I do not believe that anyone should be subject to attempted or actual assault and serious bodily injury because of their perceived or actual gender or sexual orientation.”

Claude Alexander.jpg
Bishop Claude Alexander Jr.

Dr. Laura Gerald, President, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust

“Yes. Any group that is subject to hate crimes should be protected from them.”

Dr. Laura Gerald.jpg
Dr. Laura Gerald

Sallie Shuping Russell, Former Managing Director, BlackRock Private Equity Partners

“Yes. This is definitely true. We’ve had clear instances where LGBTQ people were assaulted or killed by brutal attacks. These are hate crimes and should be treated as such. Of course, it would probably require that there are laws forbidding discrimination to these people. Without that I don’t know what legal basis you have for having this be a hate crime. ”

Que Tucker, Commissioner, North Carolina High School Athletic Association

“Yes. All people should be protected, and if the current laws/statutes do not protect LGBTQ persons, then we need to expand coverage.”

Pamela Davies, President Queens University of Charlotte

“Statutes regarding hate crimes should most definitely include LGBTQ people, just as they include people of other differences.”

Pearl Burris-Floyd, Secretary UNC Board of Governors

“The North Carolina hate crimes law should be expanded to protect the LGBTQ community. It is never acceptable to attack others because they are different.”

Shirley Frye, Greensboro community leader

“NC should have laws that protect ALL citizens. If not, it is discriminatory. We need all citizens.”

Your Voice

Your Voice was ongoing conversation between readers, the 60 NC Influencers, and policy makers in our state. Since June we’ve been asking readers what mattered most to them about a particular policy issue. After they weighed in online each week, we held a Your Voice vote to see which reader’s response resonated most. Then, we put that question to the NC Influencers.