By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
August 12, 2021
Monday evening, the Charlotte City Council unanimously approved a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) ordinance. The law’s passage marks a five-year circle back to the Queen City, which introduced a similar measure in 2016 that initiated the firestorm of HB 2, commonly called “the bathroom bill.”
“We won the fight to get HB 2 on the books,” said Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, “but it became a long, arduous, and painful journey for the state’s Republican leadership and lawmakers to maintain it. Directed by LGBT activist organizations, the pressure from celebrities, corporate, sports, and entertainment groups threatened to hold the state’s economy hostage until the legislature repealed it. In the end, lawmakers struck a compromise that Governor Roy Cooper was willing to sign, returning the bathroom provisions to the status quo, and placing a moratorium on SOGI type ordinances until December of 2020, which has expired.
Creech added that he, nor any other conservative evangelical with whom he worked with on the bill, ever regretted working for its passage or its preservation. We all believe it was indispensable to keeping men from using women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. “Its purpose was to preserve their right to privacy,” he said. “Furthermore, it protected private businesses from being forced to promote ideas and participate in the events that conflicted with their moral and religious beliefs.”
Creech also said that Charlotte’s ordinance doesn’t address bathroom accommodations, but it does provide exemptions for “religious organizations.” Still, it isn’t “in the slightest bit clear about the way it might be applied to nonsectarian businesses owned and operated by Christians who want to operate their business according to their beliefs,” he said.
Tami Fitzgerald, head of the North Carolina Values Coalition, warned that “[L]aws like Charlotte’s SOGI have been used to punish people like Jack Phillips, Baronelle Stutzman, and Blaine Adamson for declining to create custom art that expresses messages that conflict with their beliefs. These types of laws coerce uniformity of thought and speech on beliefs about marriage, sex, and what it means to be male and female. Creative professionals were hung out to dry by Charlotte’s ordinance.”
“The SOGI adopted Monday night is wholly inadequate to protect religious freedom or freedom of speech. People who live and work in Charlotte are about to find out how the City’s nondiscrimination ordinance will limit their Constitutional freedoms.”
In a 2016 article written for The Daily Citizen, Jeff Johnston explains the fundamental flaw of SOGI ordinances. Johnston writes:
“SOGI laws clash with how Christians and persons of other faiths view the world. Christians believe that God created humanity male and female. Men and women are created in God’s image and likeness—distinct, but both are good and valuable. We also believe that marriage between a man and woman is God’s design, and the only place for sexual expression.
“These are reasonable beliefs for people of faith, but SOGI laws cause Christian beliefs to be deemed discrimination and bigotry. They attempt to coerce people of faith to agree with an ideology that is opposed to Christian teaching. Government should not use its power to coerce belief [and practice]…
“When SOGI laws are enacted, they often come into conflict with basic rights enumerated in the Constitution. And often, sexual orientation and gender identity are elevated above religious liberty, freedom of association, and free speech. Many SOGI law activists believe that sexuality should trump religious freedom and free speech and that people of faith should be forced to comply, even if doing so violates their religious and moral beliefs.
“Our Founding Fathers argued for religious liberty as the first and most cherished right because it was held as a national virtue and credited as being a gift from God, not government. None of the Founders argued for sexual liberty and license, or anything of the sort, as a ‘right.’ In fact, George Washington said, ‘Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.’ And Alexander Hamilton noted that government was needed because ‘the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.’ The sexual revolution flipped that idea on its head and placed sexual passion at the center of individual lives and society rather than reason, religion, and morality.
“Today’s SOGI laws are the result.”
According to Equality NC, the state’s premiere LGBTQ rights activist organization, as many as ten communities around the Tar Heel state have enacted SOGI laws: Apex, Asheville, Buncombe County, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro, Hillsborough, and Orange County.