Chapel Hill resolution urges repeal of House Bill 2

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Chapel Hill wants the new state law to be repealed.

The Chapel Hill Town Council passed a resolution Monday demanding the General Assembly repeal House Bill 2, which Gov. Pat McCrory just signed into law last week.

The new law, designed to block Charlotte's nondiscrimination ordinance which expands protections to LGBT people, bans local governments from passing their own anti-discrimination rules.

Mayor Pam Hemminger opened the special meeting of the all-Democratic council, by touting the college town's commitment to progressive politics.

"That long history that we have of being welcoming and inclusive is not going to change no matter what they pass at the state legislature," Hemminger said.

In the resolution, which follows a similar measure passed by neighboring Carrboro during the weekend, the town's leaders reaffirmed their support for protecting the LGBT community and gave Charlotte city leaders a pat on the back for passing an ordinance that among other things, allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice.

Before Charlotte's ordinance was scheduled to take effect April 1, the General Assembly returned to Raleigh in a special session. Lawmakers passed HB2 which for the first time, set a statewide anti-discrimination policy for places of public accommodation. The bill, which McCrory signed into law, preempts local governments, ensuring local policies don't go beyond the new state standard that does not include protections for people based on gender identity or sexual identity.

"The legislators who supported HB2 are engaging in deviant and I would say radical behavior," said Jessica Anderson, Chapel Hill Town Council member.

Council members heard from several transgender people during a public comment portion of the special meeting.

"I go to restaurants here and I go to the female bathroom and there hasn't been any incidents," said Michelle Doss, a transgender woman who spent 52 years of her life as a man.

Some asked council members to go beyond a strongly-worded resolution.

"Stand up in non-compliance with this obvious threat to local control," urged Amanda Ashley.

Gov. McCrory reacted to criticism and questions about whether HB2 is having a negative impact on business in North Carolina.

"We have not changed one policy of any business in North Carolina," he said.
"Every city and every corporation has the exact same discrimination policy this week as they had two weeks ago. There's a very well-coordinated campaign- national campaign which is distorting the truth."

In its resolution, Chapel Hill's town council asks the town attorney to explore joining lawsuits that may be brought to address what it calls "inequities present in the law."

Hemminger said after a Monday morning conference call with the Metro Mayors Association, a group of mayors from the state's 40 largest municipalities, she expects another resolution about the loss of local control.

"We're going to be drafting together another resolution to come before all those councils at some point before the legislature goes back into session to send a unified message from all the municipalities about how we feel about these overarching rules," she said.

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