NC Democrats Seek To Pass 'Historic' LGBTQ Protections
Democrats in the state legislature have filed a slate of bills that civil rights advocates are calling historic.
The bills have no Republican sponsors, and passage will require at least some support from the GOP majority.
One of the bills would fully repeal the remnants of HB2, the so-called "bathroom bill," by erasing a moratorium on local governments enacting anti-discrimination ordinances. The other would prohibit the practice of conversion therapy in North Carolina, a questionable treatment aimed at changing a person's gender or sexual identity.
A third, comprehensive bill seeks to prevent LGBTQ discrimination in housing, lending and employment.
"Our youth deserve to grow up in a world that affirms that they are loved for exactly who they are," said Kendra Johnson, executive director of Equality North Carolina, addressing reporters at a news conference Thursday to unveil the legislation.
"North Carolina has an opportunity to lead the South by passing a bill to end the harmful and dehumanizing practice of conversion therapy for young people," she added.
Two lawmakers fought back tears in describing their deeply personal connection to the legislation.
"After 60 years, to come out and finally say 'yes, I am part of this community,' without the shame, because our laws are changing and our attitudes are changing and love conquers hate and discrimination," said state Rep. Marcia Morey (D-Durham), a former District Court judge.
"I want to thank all of the straight allies and gay allies here for validating that, once again, we are human," said an emotional Rep. Allison Dahle (D-Wake), a first-term state representative, who is gay.
"Today’s historic show of support from North Carolina lawmakers marks an important milestone in the journey to full equality," said the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, in an issued statement. "We won’t stop until we get there.”