Mar 30, 2015
McCrory Blasts State's RFRA Bills, Equality NC Responds
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 30, 2015) -- Equality NC, North Carolina’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, responded to comments made by Governor Pat McCrory on Monday who said that a GOP bill designed to refuse services based on religious beliefs "makes no sense."
According to statements posted by The Charlotte Observer, "McCrory compared the 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act,' whose sponsors include two Charlotte lawmakers, to the effort to allow transgender persons to use the bathroom of their choice. Both are not needed, he said."
The legislation referenced, HB348, one of two so-called "North Carolina Religious Freedom Restoration Act" (or RFRA) bills circulating in the North Carolina General Assembly, could allow anyone to claim exemption from state or local laws--based on so-called 'religious beliefs.'
Gov. McCrory also weighed in on a Senate-passed bill, SB2, which would allow magistrates to refuse to marry couples based on religious objections. "I don't think you should have an exemption when you took an oath to uphold..the constitution of North Carolina," he said. Senate Bills 2 now awaits consideration by a House committee.
McCrory's Monday comments on WFAE's Mike Collins Show follow a week of public backlash against a similar RFRA bill signed into law in Indiana.
Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, responded to the governor's comments by calling on North Carolinians to continue holding their electeds accountable and encouraging more state leaders to oppose any and all legislation that would codify discrimination.
"It is heartening to see that our state's leaders are finally listening to the deafening calls from LGBT advocates, business leaders, faith communities, and constituents--from Murphy to Manteo--all in opposition to this type of dangerous and discriminatory legislation."
Sgro added, "These religious refusal bills are in no way similar to Charlotte's or any other state or local non-discrimination ordinance. Rather, RFRA essentially allows individuals to use their religious beliefs to harm others, paving the way for challenges to virtually any law designed to protect all of us from various forms of discrimination, in Charlotte and beyond. Therefore, Equality NC and our allies will do everything we can to make sure these bills never become law, from the committee rooms of our state legislature, all the way to the governor's desk at the state capitol."
Equality NC is asking all North Carolinians to encourage their legislators to vote against this latest discriminatory RFRA legislation, as well as contact the governor to encourage him to stand by his comments, and veto any RFRA legislation that passes his desk.
"Right now, we must not only protect the LGBT community but also North Carolina’s reputation as a place welcoming to all," said Sgro.