Equality NC

Equality NC Leader Stepping Down

May 12, 2017
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Chris Sgro, the leader of the state LGBT rights group Equality NC, has announced he's stepping down at the end of May after nearly four years with the group.  He's taking a job with the national gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.  He'll be their communications director.  Sgro spoke with BPR about his time with ENC and about the bill that partly repealed HB2.

Activists groups like Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign say they will fight to reinstate protections that were nullified by the Charlotte City Council in a surprise vote Monday morning.

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

The race for governor in North Carolina is nail-bitingly close.  Republican Governor Pat McCrory has been bogged down for the last six months defending House Bill 2, the state's controversial "bathroom bill."  His opponent, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper wants it repealed.  That position is supported by gay rights groups and they're making it known.  Two leaders of the LGBT movement were in Asheville stumping for Cooper on Thursday and Friday.

NBA Pulls All-Star Game From Charlotte Over HB2

Jul 4, 2016
Chuck Burton/AP

*Updated 7/21 at 6:26pm: As the NBA had been warning NC lawmakers for months, it's announced that the All-Star Game has been pulled from Charlotte because of the controversial House Bill 2.  

The NBA has released the following statement: "The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019.

NBC News

Updated 8/2 7:25 am (Associated Press): Gov. Pat McCrory decided against signing one bill sent by the legislature because money appropriated to defend House Bill 2 originated from a disaster relief fund.

The bill became law without McCrory's signature as a deadline passed Sunday night. It contained many tweaks to a larger budget measure, including $500,000 for the governor's office for legal costs of defending House Bill 2, which limits anti-discrimination rules for LGBTQ people

NC House Democrats Seek to Expand State LGBT Protections

May 11, 2016

Democrats in the North Carolina House have filed a bill to expand state protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status and familial status.

Greensboro Representative Chris Sgro is one of the sponsors of House Bill 1078, dubbed the “Equality for All Act”.  He called it the most comprehensive set of non-discrimination protections ever introduced in the General Assembly.

Pop Star Beyoncé Comes Out Against HB2

May 4, 2016
beyonce.com

Adding to a growing number of artists to weigh in on North Carolina's controversial House Bill 2, pop singer Beyoncé posted a statement on her website denouncing the law.  The statement highlights the work of gay rights group Equality NC and suggests ways of helping the group.  The singer made a stop in Raleigh on Tuesday.  Speculation had swirled as to whether she would cancel the show or make some kind of statement. 

Country Singer Sarah Shook Talks 'Sidelong' and HB2

Apr 28, 2016
Facebook

Sarah Shook is an emerging country artist out of central North Carolina.  She’s playing Friday 4/29 in Asheville at the Grey Eagle.  She’s also one of many artists taking part in a concert in mid-May against North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2.   Ahead of her Asheville visit she spoke with Jeremy Loeb.   

Steve Harrison/Charlotte Observer

In an interview with WCQS, Tami Fitzgerald, Executive Director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, said opposition to House Bill 2 is the result of a smear campaign perpetrated by LGBT "bullies."  She took direct aim at the national gay rights group Human Rights Campaign and the state group Equality North Carolina, claiming the groups are misleading companies and threatening them if they don't come out against the bill.  She says the law is a common sense protection against men going into women's restrooms and locker rooms.  When asked whether she was open to any amendments of the law,

Harry Lynch, News & Observer of Raleigh

North Carolina lawmakers will convene later this month for their short session and House Bill 2 is expected to figure prominently.  The bill barring anti-discrimination measures for the LGBT community was passed in a one-day special session.  Hundreds of people rallied today in the state capital in support of HB2, despite a backlash from the political and corporate world that’s gone nationwide.  This weekend we learned one of the most prominent members of the opposition will now be an insider arguing for its repeal.  Chris Sgro, Executive Director of gay rights group Equality North Carolin

Emily Jan/NPR

Representatives of Equality North Carolina are preparing to return to Raleigh for this year's Day of Action event at the Legislative Building and to talk with legislators.

A lot has happened the state's leading gay rights group held its formal lobbying day at the General Assembly last year.

Gay rights activists have been heartened since October court rulings legalized same-sex marriage in North Carolina, although the U.S. Supreme Court is now examining whether gay couples have the right to marry.

Chuck Burton/AP

 Governor Pat McCrory isn't backing bills giving exemptions to court officials who decline to perform certain marriages and offering other religious protections to businesses.

McCrory said Monday he wouldn't sign in its current form a Senate bill that allows magistrates and some register of deeds workers to refuse to carry out marriage duties based on a "sincerely held religious objection." Gay-rights advocates say the measure upholds discrimination.

Tom Bullock/WFAE News

Charlotte has rejected a measure protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

City Council voted Monday night against expanding the city's nondiscrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity to a list of protected groups. It also would have prohibited discrimination based on someone's marital and familial status.

Mountain XPress

A local legislator in the General Assembly is taking a stand for same-sex couples.  Democratic Senator Terry Van Duyn of Buncumbe County joined a press conference this morning denouncing a bill that sponsors say protects religious freedom.  Senate leader Phil Berger introduced the bill that would allow magistrates to opt out of weddings if they have conflicting religious beliefs.  That could mean anyone, but Van Duyn says same-sex couples are the ones being targeted.

AP/Gerry Broome

Gay marriage is front and center on this year's first real work day at the North Carolina General Assembly.

Senate leader Phil Berger filed a bill Wednesday that would allow magistrates to refuse to preside at same-sex weddings and assistant registers of deeds to not issue licenses based on religious convictions. But they wouldn't be involved in traditional marriages either.

Berger had said he'd file a recusal bill after judges last October struck down North Carolina's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

AP PHOTO/TED RICHARDSON

A North Carolina gay rights group is voicing concerns over news that a so-called “religious freedom” bill could be introduced by the state legislature.  Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro says the law wouldn’t be about religious freedom at all.  He says one goal would be to give magistrates a way to opt out of performing same-sex weddings – which are now legal in North Carolina.  And he says history has shown that businesses are opposed to these sorts of laws.