Mar 24, 2015
Equality NC Condemns N.C. House Proposed "North Carolina Religious Freedom Restoration Act"
RALEIGH, N.C. (March 24, 2015) -- Equality NC, North Carolina’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, today condemned so-called "religious freedom" legislation filed Tuesday that would sanction and promote discrimination against North Carolina's LGBT population.
The bill, HB348, also known as the N.C. Religious Freedom Restoration Act, was sponsored by N.C. Representatives Jacqueline Schaffer (R-Mecklenburg) and Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg), and would codify so-called "religious freedom" legislation that has been used in other states to allow public and private entities to discriminate against the LGBT community.
Chris Sgro, exec. dir. of Equality NC, immediately responded to the bill filed quietly on Tuesday afternoon, calling it "a cynical tactic" that runs counter to "North Carolina's true values of fairness and equality."
"With this discriminatory bill, North Carolina's leaders have 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 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."
The bill comes 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 and Gov. Pat McCrory 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.