County commissioners to weigh in on state’s controversial transgender bathroom law

JEFFERSON-Ashe County Commissioners will vote Monday on a resolution of support for a controversial piece of legislation that has put the Tar Heel state in the national spotlight as the latest battle ground for transgender people.

House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, sets a statewide policy banning people from using public bathrooms that does not correspond with their biological sex.

The contentious law has drawn the backlash from worldwide corporations, celebrities and performing artists who are now refusing future concerts statewide as a show of unified opposition to the law.

Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill on March 23, in response to a vote by the Charlotte City Council on Feb. 22 to amend their non-discrimination ordinance to add protection for gender identity and gender expression.

That city’s ordinance allowed individuals to choose the restroom that matches their preferred gender identity, but critics of Charlotte’s policy fretted that the move could create problems by allowing men into women’s restrooms.

But HB2 has drawn negative attention to North Carolina in recent weeks as corporations, like PayPal, and entertainers like Bruce Springsteen, have blasted the legislation. PayPal said it would pull the plug on its plan to build a global operations center in Charlotte that would employ up to 400 Queen City workers, while Springsteen backed out of a scheduled North Carolina concert date.

In response to the blow back lawmakers received since the bill’s passage, McCrory announced this week that he’s signed an executive order that amends the controversial law and expands the state’s employment policy to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. It did nothing to change the part of the bill in regards to which bathroom transgender people should use.

The planned resolution by the Ashe County Board of Commissioners would serve as a symbolic show of support for the North Carolina General Assembly’s legislation if the five-member Republican led board sides in favor of the governor’s decision.

It would not be the first time the board has weighed in favor on one side of a controversial topic. In the past, commissioners have thrown their support behind conservative causes, including the placement of “In God We Trust” on the county courthouse.

County commissioners will meet in the second floor conference room of the courthouse at 9 a.m. on April 18.

Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.
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