“A giant step forward.” Wake County advances nondiscrimination ordinance.

Formal vote now set for October 18th session.

Matt Calabria, chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners

Wake County Commissioners voiced strong support Monday for expanding the county’s nondiscrimination ordinance, offering greater protections to the LGBTQ community and others.

“This will really ensure that all businesses are prohibited from discriminating, including and especially in the context of employment and public accommodations,” explained Board of Commissioners Chairman Matt Calabria.

“There’s a simple underlying principle here. No one should be discriminated against because of who they are. That’s it.”

Calabria said making North Carolina’s cities and the counties more inclusive and welcoming is not just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do.

He noted that many of the very businesses Wake County would like to recruit are looking for policies that will enable them to attract the best talent, not deter prospective employees from wanting to move to the region.

Vice Chair Vickie Adamson

Wake County’s proposed policy will cover a broad base of characteristics, prohibiting discrimination based on race, sex, pregnancy, marital or familial status, LGBTQ status, disability, natural hair or hairstyles, and a number of other factors.

The ordinance will also require that anyone wishing to do business with the county certify that they don’t discriminate as a condition of winning a future contract or bid.

Wake County Vice Chair Vickie Adamson echoed Calabria’s support for the ordinance, offering a personal story.

“As a family member of quite a few people in the LGBTQ community, I worry about them. Are they going to be heard? Are people going to hurt their feelings? Hopefully when they chose to come to Wake County they’ll be safer,” she explained. “I think we’re making a giant step forward for Wake County.”

Studies have shown that 1 in 3 LGBTQ people have experienced discrimination in the past year.

Commissioner Maria Cervania

Commissioner Maria Cervania joined Adamson in offering her colleagues an emotional word of thanks.

“I am so happy to be part of a group of people that actually has a commitment towards showing that we are all in this to see each other for who we are as people…to be fair and respectful.”

Wake County Commissioners will formally vote on the nondiscrimination resolution at their October 18th meeting.

If approved it will take effect February 1, 2022.

Raleigh City Council is slated to take up their own nondiscrimination ordinance when they meet Tuesday at 4:00pm.

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