The city council of Charlotte, North Carolina, is considering today whether to add five characteristics – marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression – to protected classes already listed in the city’s public accommodations.
From Charlotte’s WFAE:
First, it would make it illegal in Charlotte for taxi drivers, restaurants, or any commercial business from discriminating against customers who are gay, lesbian or transgendered.
Seventeen states and more than 200 cities and counties across the country have enacted similar laws. It makes sense for Charlotte to do the same, says Chris Sgro, executive director of the gay and transgender rights group Equality NC.
After all, he says Charlotte is one of the 20 largest cities in the country, “and of the top 20 population cities in the country,” he says, “all of them but Memphis, Jacksonville and Charlotte have these protections.”
Under Charlotte’s proposed ordinance, companies found to discriminate would be subject to a fine and could be barred for two years from getting any city contracts.
Opponents say passing the ordinance isn’t fair because it would mean they would be prohibited from discriminating against gays, and that businesses might have to treat all customers fairly. Apparently, the act of baking a cake or selling flowers for a wedding now constitutes “promoting” same-sex marriage. I wonder if providing a cake for a second or third marriage (we know how the Bible feels about divorce) also promotes un-Biblical acts?
You can listen to the city council meeting live here. But, I’ll warn you, the anti-gay folks are certain to get ugly.
I’ll post Twitter updates as the evening goes along.