Charlotteans descended on Raleigh Monday morning by bus, car and carpool to join rallies for and against House Bill 2. Some joined people at the microphone.
The Rev. Mark Harris, pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church, was getting ready to address a crowd of bill supporters outside the legislative building.
“I felt it was important for these folks and legislators to understand where all this started,” Harris said by phone, referring to the Charlotte ordinance that extended anti-discrimination protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
“Jennifer Roberts and the Charlotte City Council ignored repeated warnings that this wasn’t going to be good for Charlotte and good for the state if they passed the ordinance like this,” said Harris, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger in the June primary. “I think Jennifer Roberts has to own this because this was her agenda and the City Council’s to make this an issue.”
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Meanwhile, Erica Starling, a transgender member of Charlotte’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce, addressed a rally alongside her 8-year-old daughter.
“I wanted her to see that other people support me,” said Starling. “HB2 is basically an attack against me and my child.”
A group of Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill, HB 946, to repeal the bill passed by the Republican majority.
Rep. Tricia Cotham of Matthews, a co-sponsor, said while Republicans may change some parts of HB2, they’re not expected to change its anti-discrimination or bathroom provisions.