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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Opponents to Charlotte’s Bathroom Ordinance Urge for Special Session to Protect Businesses, Prevent Assault, Keep North Carolina Save For All

CHARLOTTE, NC— Local mothers, business owners, job creators, community leaders, students, and past victims of sexual assault assembled for a press conference in front of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Complex Building to continue urging Governor Pat McCrory and the General Assembly to call for a Special Session to overturn Charlotte’s harmful bathroom ordinance. A hundred Charlotte citizens and their families joined as these community leaders spoke to the dire effects this ordinance will have on their businesses and safety, not only in the city of Charlotte, but statewide. This is common sense— no men in the women’s bathroom.

Charlotte’s bathroom ordinance is bad for business, commerce, and trade all across the state of North Carolina. A special session to overturn Charlotte’s ordinance is required in order to, (1) protect their revenue and safeguard their contracts, (2) prevent ridiculous fines, jail time, and frivolous lawsuits, and (3) continue to freely create jobs and provide for their families. Every North Carolinian has the right to live and work in accordance with their beliefs without being punished by the government.

However, the impact on North Carolina’s many businesses isn’t the only unintended consequence. Allowing men to use women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms puts both women and children in situations of grave danger. Evidence shows that bathrooms are one of the most prevalent places in which sexual assault and rape occur.

Charlotte resident Eliana Smith, former victim of sexual assault, shared today, “Over the past several weeks after Charlotte passed their harmful bathroom ordinance, I have woken up with anxiety and fear that I may encounter a man in the bathroom, and just the thought of this sends chills over my body. Simply seeing a man in a place that is supposed to be a private and safe space inflicts incredible reminders of the emotional trauma I experienced as a young girl.”

The right to privacy is particularly important for women who have suffered sexual abuse and trauma. For these women, the mere presence of a male in what should be a private and safe space can trigger severe psychological and emotional harm. Women should not be forced to undress or shower in the presence of men. This violates their right to privacy.

Some leaders in Raleigh have cited the monetary cost per day of hosting a Special Session as a reason for waiting until the already scheduled short session at the end of April. It is the job of the government to protect the safety and well being of their citizens. Speaker Tim Moore has continued to show great leadership to protect women and children. On March 3rd, Speaker Moore released a statement, “We believe it prudent to consider immediate action because the Charlotte City Council decided to make its ordinance effective prior to the convening of our short session. We understand that special sessions have a cost, but the North Carolina House is unwilling to put a price tag on public safety.”

And he isn’t alone. Lt. Governor Dan Forest, who is the elected official with the constitutional power to call the North Carolina Senate back for a special session has also come forward indicating his willingness to do so, if the constitutionally mandated threshold of 3/4 of the senators ask him in writing. Senate Leader Phil Berger has also taken great strides in the Senate by appointing a working group of senators to work on possible legislation to overturn Charlotte’s unconstitutional bathroom ordinance.

The speakers at the press conference today, included:

David Benham, Benham Companies
Eliana Smith, Charlotte Wife and Mother
Thomas Delinger, Charlotte Business owner
Nathan Chandler, student
Donica Hudson, Charlotte Citizen
Mark Pedosuik, Charlotte Business Owner
Ethan Metzger, student
Jack Brosch, Charlotte Business Owner
Heather Garofalo, Charlotte Business Owner & Mom
Mark Harris, senior pastor at First Baptist Church Charlotte

Dr. Mark Harris, senior pastor at First Baptist Church Charlotte concluded today’s press conference in saying, “Governor McCrory and the General Assembly must act now to protect women and children all across North Carolina. If they fail to do so, businesses will suffer, commerce across the state will take a hit, and women and children will be placed in situations of grave danger. These are things we should not be gambling with. We will not give up until our elected officials hear our voices loud and clear. This is common sense— no men in women’s bathrooms. Call for a Special Session immediately, and keep North Carolina safe.”

Ultimately, this is sheer common sense. No men should be allowed entry into a bathroom of women and children. A majority of over 66% of North Carolinians are asking for immediate corrective action on Charlotte’s bathroom ordinance.

For any questions or media inquiries, please contact Kami Mueller by email at [email protected] or by phone 765-215-1334.

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