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Holly Springs takes no action on Wake County non-discrimination ordinance

Town of Holly Springs

The Holly Springs Town Council took no action Tuesday on Wake County's non-discrimination ordinance.

The ordinance — which has been approved by county commissioners and five city and town councils — bans discrimination on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, and a host of other factors. Any person who feels they've been discriminated against could file a complaint with the town manager.

In the Wake County version, which applies to unincorporated areas, the county manager handles complaints.

Holly Springs council member Timothy Forrest says he wants to know more about that process.

"I do not believe the Wake County ordinance has had enough seasoning to really show us the pros and the cons to it," he said at Tuesday's work session. "We don't know the disposition of the first few cases. We don't know how it's come out, what it looks like."

Council member Aaron Wolff echoed frustrations of many LGBTQ residents who attended the meeting. After months of discussion, he said it was past time for Holly Springs to approve the ordinance.

"It might not seem urgent to us sitting up here," Wolff said. "But to the folks in this community, it is. And it's probably a little too late for us to have this conversation."

The meeting came a week after Holly Springs Mayor Sean Mayefskie refused to issue a proclamation recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride Month. Speaking at a town council meeting, Mayefskie said Holly Springs "has some of the most inclusive policies there are."

The non-discrimination ordinance has been approved by Raleigh, Apex, Morrisville, Knightdale and Wendell. A Wake County spokesperson says the Cary town council could take it up next week, and the ordinance is on the agenda for an upcoming work session in Rolesville. The spokesperson says Garner officials have reached out to the county, but there's no update on when the ordinance could come up for a vote.

Besides Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina and Wake Forest have taken no action on the ordinance.

Bradley George is WUNC's AM reporter. A North Carolina native, his public radio career has taken him to Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and most recently WUSF in Tampa. While there, he reported on the COVID-19 pandemic and was part of the station's Murrow award winning coverage of the 2020 election. Along the way, he has reported for NPR, Marketplace, The Takeaway, and the BBC World Service. Bradley is a graduate of Guilford College, where he majored in Theatre and German.
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