Carrboro Passes 'Model Resolution' Against HB2, Condemns State Lawmakers | News

Carrboro Passes 'Model Resolution' Against HB2, Condemns State Lawmakers


The Carrboro Board of Aldermen held its own "special session" on Saturday afternoon to assure citizens that the town was ready to fight against the discriminatory House Bill 2 signed into law by Gov. McCrory on Wednesday.

The fight begins with two-and-a-half-page resolution, drafted by Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle and Alderperson Damon Seils. It was approved immediately and unanimously (minus Alderperson Jacqui Gist, who was absent) in front of a packed room in Carrboro's Town Hall at a meeting scheduled quickly after HB2 was passed.

Carrboro's resolution begins by praising Charlotte's Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the Charlotte City Council for "admirable leadership by approving a local ordinance that adds marital status,familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to its list of categories protected from discrimination in city contracting and public accommodations."

In response to Charlotte, Republicans in the General Assembly called a "special session" Wednesday to address LGBT protections statewide, as well as the power of local governing bodies to enact any new protections for citizens without approval from state leadership. House Bill 2 was approved and signed into law in one day with no support from Democrats in the Senate (they walked out in protest) and only eleven Democrats voting "aye" in the House, 

"This does represent a continued attack on localities — municipalities' and counties' ability to self-govern, which seems to be a claim, at least, by the Republicans, of something that they care for," said Alderperson Sammy Slade. 

One section of "A Resolution Affirming the Dignity of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People and Calling for the Repeal of Session Law 2016-3/House Bill 2" makes clear that the Town of Carrboro is prepared to move beyond disapproving words when it comes to fighting the new law. 

"The Board of Aldermen urges the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal House Bill 2 at the earliest opportunity," the Carrboro resolution reads, in part. "Meanwhile, the Board will look to the court system for remedy, seeking opportunities to partner with other local jurisdictions and advocacy organizations in taking appropriate legal action against this unconstitutional legislation; to adopt appropriate local ordinances to advance the cause of equal protection; and to encourage other local governments to exercise their legislative authority to promote equal protection and nondiscrimination."

(You can scroll through the entire resolution at the bottom of this post.)

In addition to that resolution, Slade introduced a "strong condemnation of the North Carolina General Assembly legislators, and the North Carolina governor, who have enacted hate legislation."

He went on to name each legislator that voted for HB2. "That was a really long and outrageous list," said Alderperson Bethany Chaney, before Slade's resolution was also unanimously approved.

After voting, the meeting was opened to public comments. Orange County Commissioner Penny Rich was there, along with fellow commissioners Mark Dorosin and Mia Burroughs. On Friday, the Board of Commissioners released a statement of intent to participate in multi-jurisdictional legal action against HB2.

In her remarks, Rich said she's unwilling to support businesses boycotting North Carolina to express opposition to HB2. 

"Boycotts don't work," said Rich. "It's gonna hurt us. What we need from these businesses is for them to support us in lawsuits. We need their money. So I encourage you all to talk to them, and tell them that [we] support [their] support of us."

The commissioners present were joined by several local lawmakers, past and present, in the audience on Saturday. Former Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt was there, and so was former Council member Lee Storrow. Current Council members present included Donna Bell, Sally Greene, Nancy Oates, Michael Parker and Jessica Anderson.

"This is not about bathrooms," said Anderson on her public remarks, "but if we are using bathrooms as a metaphor for all this, I will go with you."

In other words, she would accompany transgender friends to public accommodations, a popular sentiment that inspired a widely shared hashtag after HB2 was passed. 

"I know that there are other straight white folks who will go with you," she continued. "As the soon-to-be mother of two, I would feel comfortable with my children being in the bathroom with anybody, except for anybody who voted for this bill."

On Monday at 6 p.m., the Chapel Hill Town Council will hold a Special Meeting to address HB2.

Several other citizens spoke at the public hearing. Among those, Amanda Ashley brought down the house. 

"They're coming for us," said Ashley. "All of us. This bill targets not only us queers, but can  be interpreted to target women, the differently abled, the elderly, veterans, immigrants, those mired in poverty, those belonging to racial minorities, and also those municipal governments and elected officials who stand contrary to [Republican] rulership."

The sweep of HB2 is still being unpacked by legal experts, but as Seils pointed out later in the meeting: "One of the most troubling parts of the legislation is the part that appears to make it impossible to bring civil action in North Carolina courts on the basis of racial discrimination — and other categories. Disability, age, sex — all of the ones that we're very familiar with. "

State government was represented at Saturday's Town Hall meeting by Orange County Rep. Graig Meyer, a Democrat; and Democratic Senators Valerie Foushee and Mike Woodard, who joined all others in their caucus by walking out in protest on Wednesday before voting on HB2 began.

"That was fun," Woodard told The INDY. 

Near the end of Saturday's meeting, Lavelle said she plans to draft "a less Carrboro-ish resolution" that other jurisdictions can use as a model for their own resolutions against HB2.

Here's the initial resolution that was passed Saturday:

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