- Associated Press - Friday, March 18, 2016

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Gov. Pat McCrory should immediately convene a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly to overturn Charlotte’s new non-discrimination ordinance, says a group of parents and businessmen who worry the law would force males and females to share public restrooms.

About two dozen people gathered at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Complex plaza to urge McCrory to call the special session before the ordinance takes effect April 1. The ordinance says transgender people can use the restroom of their gender identity.

Nearly everyone in the group had a sign, some of them reading “Keep Women Safe,” and others saying “No Men In Women’s Bathrooms.”

Thomas Dellinger, who said he’s a businessman and a father of two, said his family’s safety is in jeopardy and his businesses will be subjected to financial burdens because of the ordinance.

“The parks, the museums, the stadiums, the places I want to enjoy with my family now become a difficult thing to do at best, simply because I refuse as a father to allow my daughter to use the restroom with a man,” Dellinger said.

Republican House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger have said they oppose the ordinance passed last month by Charlotte City Council.

“Honestly, it is ridiculous we are even having this discussion,” Moore said in a statement issued Friday. “I look forward to invalidating this ordinance as soon as possible.”

Rep. Dan Bishop, who represents part of Charlotte, said lawmakers are working on legislation to address the ordinance, which aims to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression at hotels, restaurants and other public accommodations. Bishop said he supports the early session to address the ordinance, noting that McCrory has next week and part of the following week to call lawmakers back to Raleigh.

“The whole thing is anxiety producing because it’s just poor work and sort of a rogue city council going way beyond a function that a city council has,” he said, adding that there’s constant consultation between members of the House and Senate as well as the governor’s office.

“I believe we’ll have legislation complete. I believe we’ll have a special session and I think we’ll pass it,” Bishop said.

One heckler at the news conference shouted at several of the speakers as he attempted to counter their claims. At one point, he was surrounded by several sign-holding ordinance opponents. He later engaged one of the protesters in conversation.

Also on Friday, the KeepNCsafe.org Coalition announced it has purchased ads in the Charlotte and Raleigh markets urging McCrory and the General Assembly to call for a special session to overturn the ordinance.

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