Full week’s report on the ordinance’s demise
By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
March 25, 2016
RALEIGH – Charlotte’s Bathroom and Public Accommodations Ordinance suffered a series of blows starting on Monday that ended in its death by Wednesday.
Monday, Keep NC Safe, a coalition of groups opposed to the ordinance held a press conference, urging state lawmakers to hold a special session to overturn it.
The press conference, which was held on the south side of the Capitol Building, featured students clad in school uniforms in the background, with statements offered from school administrators, law enforcement professionals, and public policy experts.
The group appealed to the Governor and the General Assembly to take immediate action and rectify the egregious ordinance before it could take effect on April 1st. Concerns were that if the ordinance was allowed to stand it could be adopted in other cities across the state.
John Rustin, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council, told the press, “The Charlotte City Council has chosen to force business owners in the city and anyone who seeks to contract with the city to accept and conform to the Council’s extreme viewpoints. Clearly, many citizens have sincere religious beliefs that inform the way they live their lives and run their businesses. As we have seen in localities and states across the nation, similar ordinances have been used to force small business owners such as florists, bakers, photographers, bed and breakfast owners, and others to either conform to a government dictated viewpoint in violation of those sincerely held beliefs, or to face legal charges, fines and other penalties that have ultimately caused some to go out of business. The City of Charlotte should not be authorized to impose such an unconstitutional mandate as a condition of doing business.”
Mike Lopez, a school administrator from Greenville Christian Academy, shared, “It doesn’t make sense. No child at my school should be forced into an intimate setting – like a locker room or bathroom – with another child of the opposite sex. We are compassionate towards children who have difficult personal issues to work through, but boys shouldn’t be permitted to deal with those issues in private, intimate settings with young girls. We cannot sacrifice the privacy and safety of our children.”
Chloe Jefferson, a student at Greenville Christian Academy presented concerns represented by her peers, saying, “Girls like me should never be forced to undress or shower in the presence of boys. I sympathize with those who are working through difficult personal issues – I imagine its very confusing. But being a teenage girl is really confusing too. I have a right to privacy and wish not to be exposed to young males changing and showering beside me. I think everyone has the freedom to believe in what they want, but the government shouldn’t change laws that jeopardize the safety and privacy of students.”
After Jefferson, a statement was read by Kami Mueller, a public relations person with the North Carolina Values Coalition. The statement was from Sheriff B.J. Barnes of Guilford County. It read, “An ordinance such as the one proposed by Charlotte presents a problem for law enforcement to enforce since it requires us to make a judgement call on whether the person is truly desiring to identify with the sex opposite that assigned him at birth or is a sex offender taking advantage of a weak ordinance. It also places an additional stress on parents who must consider whether their children are being exposed to unwanted influences anytime they go into the restroom. The desires of a handful of people who are struggling with their sexual identity should not cause the majority of people to compromise their safety and privacy in public bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. And, it should not place law enforcement personnel in the uncertain position of enforcing a law based on feelings, not facts.”
Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, argued, “Ultimately, this is common sense— no men should be allowed in women’s bathrooms. Charlotte’s bathroom ordinance is unconstitutional, and will likely be the first domino for other cities to follow suit, should a special session not be called to take immediate action. Every North Carolinian has the right to peacefully live and work in accordance to what they believe without being punished by the government.”
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, gave a passionate speech, saying, “Because there is no religious carve out – no exemption for churches to Charlotte’s Bathroom ordinance, the Charlotte City Council has now dictated to the religious community who they must allow into their church bathrooms… The irony, at least to me, of all of this is that I can remember when churches were arguing for keeping the definition of marriage as one man and one woman, they we were reminded over and again by the LGBT community and progressives of something called ‘separation of church and state.’ ‘You churches keep your morality out of the public arena. It’s not proper,’ they said. ‘Don’t try to impose by legislation your morality over on us.’ Yet, these same influences are now by Charlotte’s bathroom ordinance blatantly forcing their way into our churches and imposing their morality on us.”
To read Dr. Creech’s full speech during the press conference, click here.
To view video Dr. Creech’s full speech, click onto the Youtube video here
Kellie Fiedorick, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, read a statement form Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh and Bishop Peter J. Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte, that read, “The city ordinance also does not protect the rights of religious institutions, such as churches, Catholic schools, and charities. In a country founded on liberty and freedom, how can religious institutions be coerced into abiding by an ordinance that violates the very teachings they hold regarding sexuality and human dignity? Other cities may follow Charlotte. As the Catholic Bishops with jurisdiction over the state of North Carolina, we stand against this ordinance and encourage the state legislature and the governor to show courage by passing a law that protects individuals and religious institutions.”
Other speakers included, John Amanchukwu, executive director of the Upper Room Christian Academy in Raleigh, Mark Weatherford, Headmaster at Vandalia Christian Academy in Greensboro, and Ron Baity, president of Return America based in Winston-Salem.
Only a few hours after the press conference, House Speaker Tim Moore (R) and Lieutenant Governor, Dan Forest (R) called for a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly for Wednesday, at 10:00 a.m., saying the constitutional requirement of 3/5ths of members from both chambers wanted it.
The effort to overturn the ordinance started first on the House side with the introduction of HB 2 – Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, sponsored by Reps. Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg), Paul Stam (R-Wake), Julia Howard (R-Davie), and Bob Steinburg (R-Chowan).
According to a summary of the measure provided by legislative staff, the bill does the following:
- Requires single sex multiple occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities in public schools and public agencies.
- Supersedes and preempts all local ordinances, regulations, or resolutions imposing any requirements on employers pertaining to compensation of employees, with certain exceptions.
- Prohibits cities and counties from requiring private contractors to abide by regulations or controls on employment practices or mandate or prohibit provision of goods, services, or accommodations to any member of the public, except as required by State law.
- Supersedes and preempts any local ordinance, regulation, or resolution that regulates or imposes any requirements on employers pertaining to regulation of discriminatory practices in employment.
- Creates a State law pertaining to discrimination in public accommodations. Supersedes and preempts any local ordinance, regulation, or resolution that regulates or imposes any requirements pertaining to regulation of discriminatory practices in a place of public accommodation.
Lawmakers who shepherded the bill to passage rightly argued that the bill was common sense, protecting women and children from sexual assault, as well as protecting the state from a patchwork of confusing local employment laws that would be injurious to commerce, labor, and trade in the state.
Comments from the public during committee hearings were limited to two minutes. Dr. Creech was slated to testify before the House Judiciary 4 Committee on the bill, but was bumped because of time. He was later slated to speak before the Senate’s Judiciary 2 Committee. As Providence would have it, Dr. Creech’s speech in the Senate was the last public comment on the legislation.
To read Dr. Creech’s speech before the Senate Judiciary 2 Committee, click here
HB 2 passed overwhelmingly in the House with bipartisan support by a margin of 82-26.
See the way House members voted on HB 2 by clicking here
HB 2 passed in the Senate by a vote of 32-0.
Senate Democrats protested against the bill by walking out on the vote. Sen. President Pro-Tempore, Phil Berger said of the Democrats action, “We’re not sure if their rhetoric was stronger than their convictions or if they expected to be embarrassed by a majority of Senate Democrats joining Senate Republicans in voting for common sense. But either way, running out and ducking this vote is a serious breach of their duty to their constituents.”
See the Senate vote on HB 2 by clicking here
After the bill was enrolled and ratified, it was sent immediately to Governor Pat McCrory’s desk. The Governor signed the bill on the same day.
McCrory released a statement after signing which reads:
“The basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte. This radical breach of trust and security under the false argument of equal access not only impacts the citizens of Charlotte but people who come to Charlotte to work, visit or play. This new government regulation defies common sense and basic community norms by allowing, for example, a man to use a woman’s bathroom, shower or locker room.
“While local municipalities have important priorities working to oversee police, fire, water and sewer, zoning, roads, and transit, the mayor and city council took action far out of its core responsibilities. As a result, I have signed legislation passed by a bipartisan majority to stop this breach of basic privacy and etiquette which was to go into effect April 1.”
By Thursday, media bias against the bill’s passage was in full swing, erroneously claiming it discriminates against Transgender and other members of the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual community and would injure the state’s business environment. Large corporations such as American Airlines, Red Hat, Wells Fargo and others condemned it.
In response, John Rustin charged that the media was being biased, and noted, “House Bill 2 establishes a statewide policy that ‘single-sex multiple occupancy bathroom and changing facilities’ are ‘designated for and used only by persons based on their biological sex,’ which is the ‘sex’ stated on the person’s birth certificate. This applies to all such facilities under the authority of state government, local government, the public school system, the university and community college systems, and any other political subdivisions of the state. HB 2 clarifies that the bill does not prevent the government from ‘providing accommodations such as single occupancy bathroom or changing facilities upon a person’s request due to special circumstances.’ Furthermore, existing state law allows an individual to change the ‘sex’ designation on their birth certificate if they have undergone sex reassignment surgery and the surgery is verified in a notarized statement from a physician.”
Read John Rustin’s article, Cutting Through the Media Bias; The Truth About HB 2
To answer additional questions dealing with much of the misinformation media blitz, visit Myths vs Facts: What New York Times, Huffington Post and other Media Outlets aren’t saying about Common-Sense Privacy Law.
Dr. Creech said the argument by big business that upending the ordinance would hurt the state’s economy was a “ruse.” He admonished, “Don’t buy it.”
“How is it that their businesses have done so well in North Carolina for all these years without such ordinances? The argument is ridiculous. Without such ordinances, North Carolina is one of the top five states in the nation in actual and prospective job growth. Nine of Forbes’ most recent top fifteen states for business do not have state nondiscrimination laws that include ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ as protected classes,” said Dr. Creech in a Facebook post.
To address much of the misinformation, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest released this excellent Youtube statement, which can be accessed by clicking here.
HB 2 is now law and women and children are safe. Moreover, North Carolinians may run their businesses according to their peacefully expressed beliefs.
“We owe a great debt of gratitude to our Governor and the lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly who voted to stop this irresponsible ordinance birthed by the Charlotte City Council,” said Dr. Creech. “I hope the first opportunity our folks get that they will thank the Governor and the legislators who ended this threat. They put a lot on the line to protect us. The battle is not over. Now we have to go to bat for them. We have to defend them against attacks and support them at the polls.”