The petition delivery was in response to Pittenger’s recent town hall remarks in which he told the audience that employers should have the right to fire or refuse to hire gay and transgender workers.
The Charlotte Republican stood by his remarks, saying that Americans are already well-protected by non-discrimination laws.
Here’s how the story was recently reported in the Pittenger’s hometown paper, the Charlotte Observer:
Pittenger stirred up the gay rights debate when he told liberal political blog ThinkProgress this month that governments shouldn’t “impose on the freedoms we enjoy.” Asked his opinion about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act pending in Congress, Pittenger compared adding more laws to protect gays in the workplace to smoking bans – which he said are fine for public places, but he questioned the government role when it comes to private spaces.
North Carolina is among 29 states that lacks statewide workplace protections for LGBT people.
“Congressman Pittenger’s inflammatory remarks represent an opportunity to make clear one simple fact: hardworking gay and transgender people of North Carolina are not “already protected” from workplace discrimination,” said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC. “With these petitions, we bring with us sobering portraits of widespread discrimination faced by gay and transgender people in the workplace. We not only demand that Pittenger, a former businessman himself, recant his comments, but also join with the majority of North Carolinians and North Carolina business leaders, to ask that he and other politicians act quickly and update state and federal policies to include workplace protections for our gay and transgender friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers.”
Learn more about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) here.