- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The North Carolina General Assembly will hold a special session on Wednesday at which the legislature is expected to block a Charlotte ordinance that would allow people to use restrooms and other public accommodations on the basis of gender identity.

“We aim to repeal this ordinance before it goes into effect to provide for the privacy and protection of the women and children of our state,” said Lt. Governor Dan Forest and House Speaker Tim Moore, both Republicans, in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Conservative groups praised the legislature for taking action to prevent the ordinance, which was passed by the Charlotte City Council in February.

“We commend the General Assembly for listening to the voices of thousands of North Carolinians and taking the common-sense action of ensuring that no women or young girls are forced to undress, shower or engage in other private activities in the presence of men,” said Kellie Fiedorek, legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom.

“An ordinance that allows this to occur ignores basic physical privacy rights and is especially insensitive to those who have experienced sexual abuse and may undergo additional trauma when forced to be with a member of the opposite sex in this setting,” Ms. Fiedorek said.

But pro-LGBT groups condemned the special session, arguing the assembly is taking local control away from Charlotte in order to pass legislation that discriminates against transgender people.

SEE ALSO: Bill de Blasio mandates transgender access to NYC bathrooms

“It is absolutely shameful that North Carolina lawmakers are going to waste taxpayer dollars trying to strip local control from the city of Charlotte and its citizens,” said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign. “Worse yet, they’re doing so to advance discrimination and put North Carolina on the wrong side of history,”

Both sides pressured Republican Governor Pat McCrory to take action on their behalf.

“This is an act of political theatre and at this point Gov. McCrory must stand up and be what we expect from an executive and reject any legislation that comes out of this special session,” said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina.

“We anticipate Gov. McCrory will keep his promise to take ‘immediate action’ and ensure that North Carolina businesses, women and children are protected,” Ms. Fiedorek said, referring to the governor’s promise to intervene before the ordinance goes into effect.

North Carolina is the latest state to go to battle on transgender rights. A protracted fight on the issue in South Dakota ended earlier this month, after Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed legislation that would have required students at public schools to use facilities corresponding to their biological sex.



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