Under the Dome

Gay mayors thank McCrory for opposition to bills

Four openly gay mayors in North Carolina have sent a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory thanking him for his opposition to legislative bills similar to Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Mayors Mark Kleinschmidt of Chapel Hill, Lydia Lavelle of Carrboro, Elic Senter of Franklinton and Nick Breedlove of Webster mentioned Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 348 in their five-paragraph note.

The Senate bill, sponsored by Phil Berger, Senate president pro tempore, came in the wake of the legalization of gay marriage in North Carolina and would allow magistrates and employees of county registers of deeds offices to refuse to perform marriages or issue licenses due to religious objections.

McCrory said this week that a House proposal to alter the state's religious freedom laws made "no sense," and the four mayors lauded his words.

"The social implications of these laws are bad enough," the mayors said. "North Carolina cannot afford adding a new level of economic uncertainty as workers struggle to get back on their feet after a long recession."

The mayors invited McCrory to "join the growing bipartisan support for pro-equality legislation." They pointed out that Nevada's Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, signed laws in 2011 protecting against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender-identity and -expression. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah signed anti-discrimination protections with the support of the Mormon Church as well as activist groups, they added, advocating for more protections for transgender residents.

"We hope that as we move forward, we can count on you to be a leader for a vision of a North Carolina where all can live, work, play, and pray in peace," the mayors said. "That requires an end to discrimination in public and private employment, housing, and public accommodations, as well as safe and affirming public schools."

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