CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Officials in Charlotte, North Carolina are considering additional wording for its existing non-discrimination ordinance that would allow men who identify as women and vice versa to have “restroom choice” in public.
The issue reportedly has the city council divided about the proposal, which seeks to add sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, marital status and familial status to its current citizen protections. If the ordinance is passed, any places of public accommodation, such as restaurants and stores, must allow transgendered persons to use the restroom with which they are most comfortable.
But according to reports, Monday’s meeting in Charlotte City Hall was tense as some expressed apprehension over the potential ramifications of the legislation.
“I think there exists in our community still a concern about exposing children, for example, at an early age to kind of the complexity of gender identity issues,” Council Member Ed Driggs told those gathered.
Council Member Kenny Smith said that he does not feel it is appropriate for people who are biologically of the opposite sex to share such a private and personal space as a restroom.
“I am not comfortable taking my six-year-old daughter into the men’s room, nor is it acceptable for me to go into the women’s room,” he stated. “And I think I should have full faith and confidence as I send my daughter into the restroom, who’s in that restroom.”
“If I send one of my daughters into a public bathroom, and I see [a man] going into that bathroom, I am going to have some concern,” Council Member Michael Barnes agreed.
But Council Member Al Austin, a homosexual, disagreed with those who expressed hesitation and stated that those council members were lagging behind on the Civil Rights Movement.
“Mr. Barnes, if you want to know about people being discriminated against because they are LGBT, it’s a bad feeling going into a restaurant and being asked to turn around,” he stated.
Smith presented a motion to have the matter removed from future agenda, scheduled for later this month, but votes to keep the item prevailed 7-4. The next discussion on the proposal is scheduled for Feb. 23.
As previously reported, following a similar matter in Delaware, some expressed concern regarding how such laws would require Christian businesses to violate their convictions.
“If you’re a Christian business owner, it automatically immediately directly affects you,” Mike Fox, pastor of The Trek in Smyrna, told Christian New Network. “The biggest grieving of my heart is that churches have been apathetic. Christians have been apathetic thinking that it’s really not going to affect them in the churches, and that’s the farthest from the truth.”
“It’s like the old joke: One person said, ‘Hey, did you hear about all the ignorance and apathy in the world?’ And the other said, ‘No, but I don’t really care.’”
Fox said that it is the duty of every Christian to be salt and light in the culture, and the “bathroom bill” is no exception.
“I would encourage every Christian … to stop looking inside of the church, because the battle is not on the inside of the church,” he stated. “The battle is on the outside. [We must] gather together as Christians and speak up and speak out.”
“Jesus said, ‘If you’re ashamed of Me in front of men, I’ll be ashamed of you,’” Fox added. “And so, it’s easy to talk to other Christians about morality and Christianity, but James said, ‘Show me your faith without your works, and I’ll show you my faith by my works, for faith without works is dead.’”