Mar 26, 2015
Equality NC Condemns N.C. Senate Version of "North Carolina Religious Freedom Restoration Act"
RALEIGH, N.C. (March 26, 2015) -- Equality NC, North Carolina’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, today condemned the N.C. Senate's version of a so-called "religious freedom" bill, similar legislation to that filed in the N.C. House on Tuesday, that could sanction promote discrimination against North Carolina's LGBT population.
The Senate's bill, SB550, also known as the N.C. Religious Freedom Restoration Act, was sponsored by N.C. Senators Daniel, Newton and Soucek, could allow anyone to claim exemption from state or local laws--based on so-called 'religious beliefs.'
Chris Sgro, exec. dir. of Equality NC, condemned this Senate version of what he calls a "discriminatory bill."
"With the Senate's version of this discriminatory bill, North Carolina's conservative leadership in both legislative chambers have now officially launched their efforts to dress up anti-LGBT discrimination by calling it 'religious freedom,'" said Sgro. "While the bill does not expressly mention the LGBT community, we've seen this cynical tactic play out in many parts of the country in many different ways. Now these leaders are bringing this divisive debate to our state where North Carolina's true values of fairness and equality are under attack."
Sgro added, "In the wake of these threats from our state's most extreme anti-LGBT leaders, we ask our supporters to join us right now as we prepare to fight this, and any attacks on LGBT North Carolinians, during this legislative session."
These bills come on the heels of a Senate Bill 2, which passed the N.C. Senate earlier this year that would allow magistrates and other state officials to deny marriage licenses to couples whose unions violate those officials' religious beliefs. The bill is now headed to the N.C. House for debate.
Equality NC is asking all North Carolinians to encourage their legislators to speak out against this latest discriminatory RFRA legislation.
"We want to make sure we protect not only the LGBT community but also North Carolina’s reputation as a place welcoming to all," said Sgro.