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House Speaker Calls Special Session To Shut Down Bathroom Portion Of Ordinance

tim moore
North Carolina General Assembly

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore is calling for immediate legislative action to stop Charlotte’s updated non-discrimination ordinance from taking effect. Moore and other Republican lawmakers say the ordinance is an imminent threat to public safety.

The Charlotte ordinance passed last week protects LGBT individuals from discrimination by businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, and taxis. It also includes a provision that allows transgender people to use the restroom of their choice. Republican lawmakers say that effectively does away with single-sex bathrooms and locker rooms and puts women children at risk. 

"Folks should have some sense of privacy when they go to the restroom, and this ordinance just blows that to smithereens," says Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Buck Newton (R-Wilson).

The ordinance takes effect April 1st, but the General Assembly isn’t scheduled to return to Raleigh until April 25th. Speaker Moore says he has the support of three-fifths of the House to call a special session. . Senate leader Phil Berger says he doesn’t know if enough senators would support calling a special session.

"Naturally, I would be disappointed that they would try to strike it down or do something, alter it in any way, but, having said that, I’m not surprised," says Patsy Kinsey, who was one of seven council members who voted to support the updated ordinance.

Republican Councilman Kenny Smith was one of the four votes against the ordinance. He’s previously said he opposes legislative intervention in local matters, but he says he’s okay with it in this case because it’s a “statewide issue”

Governor McCrory has said he opposes the ordinance and supports legislative action, but that lawmakers can wait to address it until their regular session.