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Clayton resident asks town to consider non-discrimination ordinance

 A 2014 photo of a street in Clayton, North Carolina.
Doug Kerr
A 2014 photo of a street in Clayton, North Carolina.

The Clayton Town Council will consider passing a non-discrimination ordinance that would protect LGBTQ people and other identities not covered by federal and state law.

Last month, the council passed a broad non-discrimination ordinance, as part of a requirement to receive funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Clayton resident Ben Chapman spoke to the council this week and urged them to go further and pass an inclusive ordinance like the one in effect in neighboring Wake County.

"Unincorporated communities in Wake County adjacent to Clayton are already protected under the law,” he said. “So, I think there should not be an arbitrary boundary of the county line, where discrimination protections end."

The Wake ordinance outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, natural hair and other factors. It is in-effect in unincorporated parts of the county, with the cities and towns of Raleigh, Cary, Garner, Knightdale, Apex, Morrisville and Wendell.

“I've never looked at Clayton as discriminating against anybody. But I have to be mature enough to know that I've only looked at Clayton through one lens,” mayor pro tem Jason Thompson said after Chapman’s remarks. “And there are a lot of other people looking at Clayton through different lenses. And we need to make sure that whatever we do represents everyone."

Thompson says he’s talking with town staff about ways to expand the current ordinance or pass a measure like Wake County’s.

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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