CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Despite hours of impassioned opposition in community testimony, city council members in Charlotte, North Carolina voted Monday night to approve a move that would permit men who identify as women and vice versa to use the restroom that correlates with their “gender identity.”
Over 21,000 area residents had signed a petition in opposition of the proposed expansion of the city’s non-discrimination ordinance, and scores signed up to provide testimony about why city council should reject the proposal.
Pastors, community leaders and others part of a coalition opposed to the changes known as “Don’t Do It Charlotte” also rallied outside prior the meeting.
Council members heard three hours of testimony from an estimated 140 area residents before voting on the matter, with many Christians coming forth to declare Scripture and explain why restroom usage rules should not be changed in Charlotte.
“By what standards are you considering this ordinance tonight? God’s word or man’s flawed reasoning? Will we be like Adam and Eve in the garden and decide morality for ourselves, or will we obey God?” asked Sean Brinza. “Psalm 2 says, “Be wise, you kings. Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.’ … I plead with you to repent and turn to Jesus.”
“We as the faith community know and understand well our duty to to love our LGBT neighbors, and we will continue to do our best—flawed as it may be—to show kindness to them,” said Mark Metzger. “However, it will always be with tough love that speaks the truth that the Bible clearly condemns the LGBT lifestyle.”
“Tough love means speaking the inconvenient truth that we don’t get to be who we want to be. We must be who God made us to be,” he declared. “It is God’s word that warns us that our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, and that following our heart is dangerous and destructive.”
Resident Bethany Chandler made similar comments as she presented a direct appeal to the transgenders present to find freedom from sin in Christ.
“I know your hearts are filled with turmoil, friends, but peace will never be found by pursuing your heart,” she said. “True freedom is only found in surrender to Jesus. It’s the most beautiful paradox. I urge you, find peace in Him and His forgiveness. Jesus was nailed to a cross to offer you this freedom. Please take it, friends.”
However, despite hours of testimony largely in opposition of the proposal, the council voted 7-4 to expand the city’s non-discrimination ordinance to add provisions for homosexuals and those who identify as the opposite sex.
Council members Al Austin, John Autry, Patsy Kinsey, Julie Eiselt, James Mitchell, LaWana Mayfield and Mayor Pro Tem Lyles voted in favor of the ordinance. Council members Ed Driggs, Claire Fallon, Greg Phipps, and Kenny Smith voted against the measure.
“I’m pleased that Charlotte has sent a signal that we will treat people with dignity and respect, even when we disagree,” Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts commented following the vote.
However, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has warned that state legislators will likely move to overturn the law.
“It is not only the citizens of Charlotte that will be impacted by changing basic restroom and locker room norms but also citizens from across our state and nation who visit and work in Charlotte,” he said in an email on Sunday. “[T]his action of allowing a person with male anatomy, for example, to use a female restroom or locker room will most likely cause immediate state legislative intervention which I would support as governor.”
House Speaker Tim Moore vowed to do just that on Tuesday.
“The Charlotte City Council has gone against all common sense and has created a major public safety issue by opening all bathrooms and changing rooms to the general public,” he told the Charlotte Observer. “This ordinance is impossible to regulate as intended, and creates undue regulatory burdens on private businesses. I join my conservative colleagues and Gov. McCrory in exploring legislative intervention.”