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Charlotte City Council Grants Transgender Rights

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Charlotte City Council voted 7-4 on Monday to expand protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina.

The measure revises the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance and it allows people to choose restrooms corresponding to the gender with which they identify. “I’m pleased that Charlotte has sent a signal that we will treat people with dignity and respect, even when we disagree,” stated Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts after the vote was finalized.

Those who oppose the ordinance include North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. He released an email on Sunday stating that allowing transgender citizens access to the bathrooms associated with their gender identity could “create major public safety issues.” He also advised that this measure would cause immediate intervention by the State Legislature that he would fully support.

The measure also adds sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status as attributes protected from discrimination. This includes public accommodations, restaurants, retail stores and other businesses. It would take effect in April. Public schools will not be affected by the law.

A similar measure was defeated in the Charlotte City Council in March 2015. Current opponents also include anti-transgender group Equality NC. They issued a statement criticizing McCrory for “perpetuating the same tired and debunked myths about transgender people and public safety.” In return, executive director Chris Sgro accused the governor and legislators of trying “to bully the Charlotte City Council with threats to strip municipalities of their rights to govern. Tami Fitzgerald, the executive director of NC Values Coalition was allowed to speak before the vote stating “If you pass this tonight, you can guarantee yourself at least a lawsuit or the General Assembly coming against what you’ve done.”

As of now the measure stands. Charlotte is the 20th largest city in the United States,

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