As the Charlotte City Council prepares to discuss and possibly vote Monday on nullifying their nondiscrimination ordinance, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Mayor Roberts have mounted an intense lobbying and social media effort to keep in place the changes that propelled North Carolina into HB2. HRC over the weekend accused the Charlotte Chamber of being an “anti-LGBT bully.” via Twitter.
The Washington-based HRC, a gay rights group that was instrumental in helping the city write the language to extend the nondiscrimination ordinance to LGBT people back in 2015, criticized the chamber for what it called the lobbying of council members to support a compromise with Republican leaders in Raleigh. The HRC backed Mayor Roberts, and many that serve on the Charlotte City Council, through considerable investments of time, money and resources into MeckPac’s 2015 Fall TurnOut! Charlotte voter campaign. According to a social media graphic displayed on May 23rd, HRC has deployed more than a dozen staff members into North Carolina to repeal #HB2 and they have reactivated TurnOut! Charlotte for the Fall elections and repeal efforts.
Under the proposal, the Charlotte City Council would remove the ordinance from city code and in return, the legislature would consider modifying some of HB2.
“Stand up to anti-LGBT bullies in Raleigh and the Chamber AND STAY STRONG FOR LGBT PEOPLE,” an HRC tweet Friday said and Mayor Jennifer Roberts said, “We cannot compromise on basic human rights. Any repeal of LGBT protections is bad for business, bad for Charlotte’s future” in a Tweet on Monday. An almost identical response come from Montel Williams and others on social media.
A spokesman for the HRC on Sunday said the tweet intended to also label the Charlotte Chamber as an “anti-LGBT bully,” not just leaders in Raleigh.
Charlotte Chamber representatives declined to comment Sunday on the HRC criticism but an op-ed posted in Sunday’s Charlotte Observer encouraged the City to “act to take the first step in a process we hope leads to reforms to HB2.” A Chamber website statement posted on Monday noted a vote of 24-0 with one abstention by its executive committee to seek a council repeal in order to trigger changes to the state law. Morgan noted that three of the 24 votes came from representatives of companies whose CEOs have signed an HB 2 repeal petition: Bank of America, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo. That shows there is no disconnect between chamber executives and its membership, Morgan added, responding to critics who have said that is the case.