Should Christian photographers in Charlotte be required to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony?
Should a Christian t-shirt printer be required to print t-shirts for a gay pride parade?
Should a Christian adoption agency be required to place a child with a same-sex couple?
No, of course not.
Unfortunately, Charlotte businesses could soon be forced to make the difficult choice between providing services and promoting messages that violate their religious beliefs or facing legal harassment and financial penalties.
Next week, the Charlotte City Council is set to vote on a sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) ordinance that we must stop! Basically, these ordinances function by expanding the list of already protected classes like sex, race, and nationality to include sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status and gender expression.
By adding “sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status and familial status” to the list of protected characteristics in the city’s non-discrimination law, the city will require many businesses, non-profits and public facilities to promote messages and ideas and take actions that are contrary to their religious beliefs about human sexuality – such as promoting marriage as something other than the union of one man and one woman.
Tami Fitzgerald is the executive director of the NC Values Coalition. She will be one of the speakers at the Don’t Do It Charlotte Rally on Monday Feb. 23. outside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center at 4:15 p.m.
This expansion of Charlotte’s non-discrimination law would not only threaten the religious liberty of Christian business owners, but it will also threaten the safety of women and children in Charlotte’s public restrooms because it will require public restrooms to be open to use by persons of any sex. This means that any man claiming to identify as a woman would be allowed to use a public women’s restroom!
Everyone in North Carolina should be concerned about the possibility of this ordinance being passed by the Charlotte City Council. Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign are on a mission to get city councils around our state to enact these dangerous SOGI ordinances.
They successfully got the Greensboro City Council to pass an ordinance in January, and now they have set their sights on the Charlotte City Council. If they are successful in Charlotte, it could set off a domino effect for city councils across the state.
In other cities across the country where these SOGI laws exist, Christian business owners have been harassed by lawsuits, forced to pay exorbitant fines, and some have even had to close their businesses.
In Idaho, wedding chapel owners and pastors Donald and Evelyn Knapp are in legal proceedings against their town, fighting the claim that by not performing same-sex weddings they have violated the town’s non-discrimination policy.
In Washington, the owner of Arelene’s Flowers, Barronelle Stutzman, is fighting a lawsuit because she declined to provide a wedding bouquet for a same-sex couple. Barronelle has had a nine-year customer relationship with one of these men, but providing flowers for a same-sex wedding violated her religious beliefs. Even though Stutzman referred the couple to another flower shop where they were able to purchase a wedding bouquet, they are still suing her for violating Washington’s non-discrimination law, which includes a SOGI provision.
The owners of an Oregon bakery who turned away a lesbian couple who sought a wedding cake were found to have violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries ruled that Aaron and Melissa Klein, who own Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Ore. will have to pay the lesbian couple up to $150,000, even though participating in the same-sex wedding violates the Klein’s religious beliefs.
The same is true for countless Christian florists, print shop owners, wedding venue operators, photographers, bakeries and other businesses across the country in towns and states that have SOGI provisions in their non-discrimination laws.
On the surface, SOGI ordinances may seem innocuous, but in reality they provide gay or transgendered people with a vehicle to sue and bully Christian business owners.
The potential impact on public restrooms by SOGI ordinances is equally concerning.
In Olympia, Washington, where the town has a SOGI provision, a man who identifies as a woman frequently uses the women’s showers and locker room at a local state college that shares its facilities with a children’s swim club. Despite frequent complaints about indecent exposure in front of girls as young as 6 years old, the non-discrimination law prevents the college from banning this man from the women’s locker rooms.
Stories just like these could be on their way to Charlotte – and the rest of North Carolina – if we do not stop the Charlotte City Council from voting to pass this non-discrimination ordinance next week.
We need your help urgently. Here are seven things you can do right now to help us stop the Charlotte City Council from passing a SOGI ordinance:
1. Inform your network! Please forward this email to every friend, family member and pastor that you know in Charlotte. It is crucial that we get the word out about this before next Monday.
2. Attend the rally! To show our unified opposition to the ordinance, there will be a rally on Monday, Feb. 23 at 4:15 p.m. outside of the Charlotte City Council meeting. Please attend if you are able. Even if you don’t live in Charlotte, your presence at this rally could have a major impact on stopping SOGI ordinances from spreading across the state. As a bonus, you’ll get to hear from a wonderful group of leaders including Tami Fitzgerald, the Benham Brothers, Pastor Mark Harris, and author and apologist Frank Turek.
Don’t Do It Charlotte Rally
Monday, February 23rd
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center
600 East Fourth Street, Charlotte, NC
3. Attend the City Council meeting! Plan to attend the Charlotte City Council meeting after the rally. We want to have a huge crowd in the room at the Council meeting so that the City Council members will have no choice but to acknowledge our concerns!
4. Speak at the City Council meeting! You can sign up to speak at the meeting on Monday. Directions for doing so are provided here. If you are a pastor, mom, business owner, or someone who frequently travels to Charlotte, we urge you to consider voicing your concerns publicly at the meeting!
5. Email City Council members! Email the Charlotte City Council and voice your concern.
6. Write letters to local newspapers! Submit letters to the editor of the Charlotte Observer.
7. Use our hashtag on social media! #DontDoItCharlotte
We must stop this dangerous non-discrimination ordinance from passing in Charlotte! PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY!
UPDATE: The Biblical Recorder has learned that the Charlotte City Council has moved the council meeting to Monday, March 2 at 6 p.m.
Charlotte City Council to vote on transgender policy