City leaders in Charlotte, North
Carolina on Monday approved a proposal to add sexual orientation and
gender identity to its anti-discrimination ordinance.
After three hours of debate that was,
at times, heated, Charlotte City Council voted 7-4 in favor of the
Republican Governor Pat McCrory, who
served 20 years in Charlotte politics, including 14 years as mayor,
promised “immediate” action by the state legislature, which has
the power to overrule the council's decisions.
The ordinance prohibits discrimination
based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public
accommodations, vehicles for hire and government contracting.
Opponents of the measure said that they
feared men posing as women would gain access to women's restrooms.
“I'm not scared of transgenders, but
sexual predators will see this as a chance for fresh victims,”
resident Pam Burton is quoted as saying by The
Charlotte Observer. “If one child becomes a victim through
this, shame on all of you.”
Other opponents simply mocked
transgender people. One man dressed up as a king and proclaimed that
he identifies as “gender royal.” “Anyone who does not bow and
call me your highness shall be fined,” the king said as he waved a
scepter. One woman described transgender people as people who think
they are a bird or a cat.
Supporters carried signs which read
“Facts Not Fear.”
A similar measured failed last year,
but a new mayor and a change in the makeup of the council favored