Charlotte Mayor celebrates National Coming Out Day at UNC School of Law

Roberts spoke at the UNC School of Law Tuesday to celebrate National Coming Out Day. The event was hosted by the Lambda Law Students Association.

The ordinance, passed on Feb. 22, protected LGBTQ patrons from being denied service by businesses in Charlotte.

Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2 in March. The law invalidated all local non-discrimination ordinances in the state, effectively repealing the ordinance.

Gigi Warner, a UNC School of Law student who attended the event, said she was outraged when HB2 was passed into law and continues to be upset.

“People across the state are angry, they want answers and they don’t want this conversation to fade into the background,” she said in an email.

Roberts said she had observed other states initiate similar ordinances with no backlash, and she did not foresee the creation of HB2 as a response to the ordinance.

“If we are going to be a 21st century city, state, country, then we’ve got to accept people, and include people, and embrace people, of all shapes and colors, of all origins, of all sexual orientation,” she said.

Roberts said McCrory and N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, claimed they were going to repeal HB2 as a result of the negative backlash from the nation.

“What we found out later was that it was not a sincere offer,” she said. “That both Tim Moore and Governor McCrory were both quoted on camera as saying that they never intended a full repeal, that they were going to take away part of it.”

Roberts said she is unsure which part or how much of the bill they claimed they were going to repeal.

She said everyone has seen a lot of bullying in the responses to the Charlotte ordinance and the controversy around HB2.

Abe Johns, president of the Lambda Law Students Association, said it is important to engage everyone in these conversations about LGBTQ equality.

“The only way that people understand that equality is necessary for a thriving state and state with great business and great opportunities is if we include everyone in those opportunities,” he said.

Johns said the Lambda Law Students Association had been planning the event since the summer, and he was glad about how it played out.

Warner said she agreed with the message of Roberts’ speech.

“Mayor Roberts’ speech was an uplifting tribute to why we all showed up today, of the need to keep working to protect LGBTQ rights,” she said. “It gave an insightful overview of how the Charlotte ordinance was passed and the rapid response by McCrory and the GA.”


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