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Mecklenburg County unanimously adopts nondiscrimination resolution to protect LGBTQ+ community, hairstyles

Updated: Feb. 2, 2021 at 8:12 PM EST
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MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County commissioners have unanimously adopted a nondiscrimination resolution to protect the LGBTQ+ community and hairstyles.

Commissioners now want to have the Mecklenburg County attorney look at the possibilities of making the resolution an ordinance.

The resolution is the first action locally since the Charlotte City Council amended its non-discrimination ordinance to include LGBTQ+ protections in 2016 - and North Carolina lawmakers responded with House Bill 2, which nullified the Charlotte law.

Mecklenburg Board of Commissioners Chairman George Dunlap and Commissioners Mark Jerrell and Susan Rodriguez-McDowell proposed the resolution, calling for nondiscriminatory employment practices and equal treatment of all residents in public settings.

“The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners affirms that every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and should be able to live in Mecklenburg County without fear, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Non-Binary individuals,” the resolution reads.

The resolution also includes non-discrimination protections for hairstyles.

“Mecklenburg County Government will not discriminate against any human being in employment practices or taxpayer-funded programs; will not discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, pregnancy or natural hairstyles, texture or type associated with race which includes, but not limited to, braids, locks, twists, tight coils or curls, cornrows, bantu knots, and afros; and welcomes companies and corporations who adopt non-discrimination policies and procedures,” the resolution continues.

Chapel Hill recently became the third in North Carolina to pass LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections since the end of House Bill 142. The Town Council of Chapel Hill, North Carolina voted to pass an ordinance broadly protecting members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination. This came in the same week that Hillsborough, NC and Carrboro, NC passed similar ordinances.

Orange County and Durham, also have already taken steps to protect their LGBTQ+ residents, with the help of statewide advocacy organization Equality North Carolina. Members of the organization met with county commissioners last week.

Municipalities regained the freedom to pass such measures on Dec. 1, 2020, following the expiration of HB142.

From 2016 until Dec. 1, 2020, the state laws HB2 and HB142 banned municipalities from protecting their residents from discrimination.

The moratorium emerged from a compromise between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican lawmakers to do away with the state’s 2016 “bathroom bill” related to restroom access for transgender people.

The city of Charlotte lost the 2017 NBA All-Star Game over controversy stemming from North Carolina’s House Bill 2, but were eventually able to host the game in 2019.

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