- Council votes 7-4 approving #CLTequality measure.
- Why Clair Fallon changed her vote from last year.
- Bathroom issue dominated the debate and public comments.
- Both Gov. McCrory and Lt. Gov. Dalton says General Assembly will take immediate action.
- What’s next and what are the back stories.
With over fifty reporters and cameras at last night’s Charlotte City Council meeting, much of what can be said about the non-discrimination ordinance has already been said. So, I’ll concentrate on some of the back stories rather than be an echo chamber.
Was the issue all about bathrooms?
No. In fact, bathroom use was a small part of the ordinance. It just got most of the attention because Christian groups focused on that in their one minute of fame during public comments.
So, what was the issue?
The ordinance was to expand the city’s protection of minority groups to ensure that all people had equal access to facilities and businesses in the Charlotte area. And, to ensure that local businesses couldn’t discriminate based on gender or expressed gender identity.
Were there any surprises?
Claire Fallon, a member of the Charlotte city council, voted for the ordinance last year. She did not support it this time around because she said she couldn’t support the bathroom clause.
Why did Fallon switch?
Although I haven’t spoken with Claire, I have spoken to people close to her. In a nutshell, it seems that organizations that didn’t support the ordinance (and the voters who elected her in her district) made a compelling argument that resonated with Fallon. Claire supports LGBT non-discrimination and she supports transgender inclusion. But, she felt the ordinance wasn’t worded appropriately and would potentially (or could potentially) cause a concern that could, by default, allow men to dress up as women and pray on females in the lady’s rest room.
What will happen next?
Both the Governor and the Lt. Governor have stated the General Assembly will take immediate action to address the issue. This could happen in a number of ways, but most likely (from the politicians I spoke with last night) the NCGA will force the City of Charlotte to call a referendum on the matter – and all of Charlotte’s voters will have a chance to vote on the non-discrimination ordinance. Otherwise, the NCGA could simply enact legislation to ban the ordinance or parts of the ordinance without a referendum.
My take on the circus.
Was Claire Fallon being discriminatory when she voted “no” on the ordinance? Probably not – I don’t think Fallon is trying to discriminate against anyone. But, these aren’t easy decisions to make. And, she knew the votes were there to pass the ordinance anyway. I think, at worst, you can accuse Fallon for listening to the voters who elected her. But, after all, isn’t that what a politician is suppose to do?
I also don’t think my saying that she had a right to vote “no” takes away from the people on the council who voted for it. All of the council members seem to be reasonable people (well, maybe except one or two) but they take their job seriously. I think they voted their conscious and they listened to their voters. So, the process works.
Fallon made a good point when she said the state should be deciding some of the issues that surround the non-discrimination ordinance. If you don’t like the make up of the NCGA – specifically, if you don’t like the Republican domination of the NCGA- then vote them out this election cycle.
I’m glad the ordinance passed, but I also suspect the NCGA will walk it back. If they do – it might make more people show up to the polls, which is a good thing considering the dismal turnouts.