Buncombe County passes first LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in Western NC

The Buncombe County Commission unanimously passed a LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance Tuesday night, becoming the 7th local government to do so since a statewide moratorium on such protections was lifted late last year.

Similar ordinances have passed in Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro, and Hillsborough, as well as Orange County.

“As a lifelong Buncombe County resident, I could not be more proud of my local government for doing the right thing by ensuring that all people – including LGBTQ people – are protected from discrimination,” said Allison Scott, director of Impact & Innovation at the Campaign for Southern Equality.

“This ordinance is a big step toward elevating the values we share in Western North Carolina,” Scott said. “Taking pride in our work, caring for our neighbors, giving back to our communities, and treating everyone the way that we want to be treated – with dignity, compassion, and respect. LGBTQ folks in our county, especially the many transgender young people who have been hurting this year, will feel safer, more welcome, and more included because of the Commission’s vote.”

Kendra Johnson, executive director of Equality NC, said it was particularly heartening to see the ordinance pass in Western North Carolina at a time when transgender youth are being targeted by bills in North Carolina and across the nation.

“With this western county affirming the right to nondiscrimination for our most vulnerable community members, Buncombe has demonstrated that this truly is a statewide movement for our communities,” Johnson said. “We hope that elected officials across our state see the targets on our backs and hear these calls to action – we need these protections in every city, town, and county across North Carolina.”

The Public Religion Research Institute’s polling for its 2019 American Values Atlas found 67 percent of North Carolinians polled support protections against LGBTQ discrimination in the state.


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Buncombe County passes first LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in Western NC