City Council passes anti-HB 2 resolution

City Council passes anti-HB 2 resolution
April 21
00:00 2016
Photo by Todd Luck
Char Van Schenck , Richard Cabán Cubero and Christina Novaton raise their hands in support of the Winston-Salem City Council approving a resolution against HB 2 on Monday, April 18.



The Winston-Salem City Council passed a resolution expressing concerns about HB 2 and asking local lawmakers to undo its “damaging legislative changes” during its Monday, April 18 meeting. HB2 was passed during a special one-day General Assembly session late last month to prevent a new Charlotte ordinance protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals from discrimination that included protection of transgender individuals using the restroom or locker room of the gender they identify with. To do that, HB2 restricts local governments from having discrimination ordinances that go further than state law and says individuals can only use public restrooms and lock-er rooms that match the gender on their birth certificate, though private businesses and entities can still make their own polices on such matters.

“We need to let our citizens know that they are still a welcome part of our community,” said City Council Member Dan Besse, who wrote the resolution.

Only Robert Clark, the sole Republican on the council, voted against the resolution. Instead he sent his own letter to Republican lawmakers on two issues he said needed addressing in the law: its elimination of employees’ right to sue for discrimination and that it could put local municipalities trying to comply with federal non-discrimination provisions in conflict with state law.

Krys Gidtrey, a Salem College student who is gender fluid, was among many speakers who thanked the City Council for passing the resolution.

“I thank you for standing up for social justice and I thank you for standing in solidarity with our community,” said Gidtrey.

During the last few weeks this issue has been discussed in council meetings, transgender people have spoken about their own personal struggles with acceptance in society and in their own families, and how awkward it would be to go in a restroom the opposite of their current gender just because of what’s on their birth certificate. They’ve rejected what they say is an unfounded scare tactic, that the Charlotte ordinance would endanger women and children. Both residents and City Council members like DD Adams have called it a civil rights issue.

Debra Pankey, the only person who spoke in support of HB2, disagreed that it’s a civil rights issue. She said the law wasn’t about hate, but about “common decency and privacy.”

“I am also appalled that some issues such as the dispute over HB2 are compared to the racial prejudice and bigotry that we and other minorities have suffered,” said Pankey, who is black.

Winston-Salem now joins Durham, Greensboro, Asheville, Carrboro, Greenville, Hillsborough and Chapel Hill as having passed a resolution against the law. The law has national opposition as more than 160 top executives from major companies have signed a letter opposing it. Paypal canceled its plans for expansion in Charlotte because of HB2 and Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Pearl Jam and Cirque Du Soleil have canceled shows in the state. The High Point Furniture Market is expecting hundreds, if not thousands, fewer costumers because of the law.

A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday against restricting transgender students from using the rest-room of the gender they identify with at a Virginia high school. N.C. Governor Pat McCrory said on Tuesday the State was figuring out the effect of the ruling on HB2.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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