Dozens gather for Charlotte vigil to support HB2

Published: Apr. 8, 2016 at 4:09 AM EDT|Updated: May. 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Dozens of people showed up for a vigil in support of HB2 Thursday night. The event was held in front of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.

Those in attendance prayed, sang songs, and lit candles to show their support for the legislation.

"It is our pleasure to pray for our governor Pat McCrory and his strength and wisdom," preached Dr. Mike Ross, Senior Pastor at Christ Covenant Church.

Ross was one of several pastors who spoke before the crowd Thursday. Pastor Jason Jimenez of Carmel Baptist Church also offered his support for HB2.

"This doesn't discriminate toward people. It protects the rights that people have," said Jimenez about the legislation.

The crowd of HB2 supporters featured several concerned citizens from Charlotte too.

"I look at it and think about my daughter who is 14 and goes to school in the city," said Jay Godwin, a fan of the law.

Godwin said the law will keep him assured that his daughter is safe when using public restrooms. Several members of the crowd agreed with that sentiment.

"Its common sense that men should not be allowed in women's restrooms and that we should ensure the privacy and safety of all girls and women," said Kellie Fiedorek, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom.

No anti-HB2 opposition was present at the vigil Thursday, but Matt Hirschy, Director of Advancement for Equality NC, issued a response to Thursday's vigil.

We are committed to working with a plurality of North Carolinians, business leaders, faith leaders and community members alike towards sensible solutions and full repeal of HB2. The notion that somehow HB2 adds any measure of safety in public restrooms is itself based on a debunked myth that seeks to vilify members of the trans community and I rebuke it in its context. This is a real problem for North Carolina and the backlash we've seen from people around the world only shows that not only a full repeal of the law is necessary, but adding non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression is the right thing to do for North Carolina. We have seen a small but vocal contingent of people claim to represent an entirety of the faith community when in fact there are hundreds of faith leaders across the state who are willing to pray for HB2's repeal.

Many of the HB2 supporters seemed to convey the same message Thursday night-they feel the legislation is about keeping the public safe, not discrimination.

"I think that people regardless of their gender preference deserve to be treated fairly under the law and that includes their wages, their civil rights, protection," said Ross. "I don't know if bathrooms fit under that category."

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