SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The mayor of San Francisco has banned all non-essential government travel to North Carolina after legislators voted to overturn a controversial “bathroom bill” in Charlotte.
“Effective immediately, I am directing City departments under my authority to bar any publicly-funded City employee travel to the State of North Carolina that is not absolutely essential to public health and safety,” Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement on Friday.
“I believe strongly that we should be adding more protections to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in the United States, not taking them away,” he said.
As previously reported, despite hours of testimony largely in opposition of the proposal, the Charlotte City Council voted 7-4 last month to expand the city’s non-discrimination ordinance to add provisions for homosexuals and those who identify as the opposite sex—including in regard to restroom and locker room use.
Over 21,000 area residents had signed a petition in opposition of the proposed expansion, and pastors, community leaders and others part of a coalition opposed to the changes known as “Don’t Do It Charlotte” also rallied outside prior to the meeting.
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, while council members Ed Driggs, Claire Fallon, Greg Phipps, and Kenny Smith rejected the measure.
Gov. Pat McCrory had warned that legislative action would ensue if the council passed the ordinance, and just as stated, House Speaker Tim Moore moved to overturn the law following its approval.
On Wednesday, following three hours of debate, the North Carolina House voted 84-25 in favor of a bill invalidating the Charlotte ordinance, with votes cast mostly along party lines—with the exception of 11 Democrats who supported the effort.
The bill, known as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, then passed the Senate 32-0 after Democrats walked out in protest as they believed that they were being left out of the participation process.
“Public agencies shall require every multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility to be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex,” the legislation reads in part. “Local boards of education shall require every multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility that is designated for student use to be designated for and used only by students based on their biological sex.”
McCrory promptly signed the bill into law on the same day.
“The basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte,” McCrory said in a statement. “As a result, I have signed legislation passed by a bipartisan majority to stop this breach of basic privacy and etiquette which was to go into effect April 1.”