CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The head of the Charlotte LGBT Chamber stepped down after his sex offender past came to light.
Chad Sevearance-Turner was once a youth minister who was found guilty of fondling a teenage boy in 1998.
Turner moved to North Carolina and became an active member of the LGBT Chamber, fighting for equal rights.
The new chamber president says they were aware of Turner’s past, but it was never an issue.
“He's proven that he's able to do the work,” says Melissa Morris.
Turner played an active role in the expansion of the recently passed non-discrimination ordinance. The ordinance, which takes effect April 1, aims to amend the city code, adding marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to the list of protected characteristics in commercial non-discrimination, public accommodations, and passenger vehicles-for-hire ordinances.
Opponents of the ordinance say it allows people of the opposite gender to be in private places like bathrooms, jeopardizing public safety.
Many, including the North Carolina Values Coalition, say Turner never should have been allowed to advocate for the ordinance given his history as a sex offender.
“To have someone who was a major proponent and pushing this to actually be a part of a crime or an issue, I think was very unwise at best,” says Dr. Mark Harris, head pastor of First Baptist Church.
Harris says he is glad that Turner’s past is being brought to light.
Morris, however, disagrees, sayiing, "it's unfortunate for everyone in the community that's been fighting for discrimination issues to be resolved. We're no longer talking about those issues, we're talking about something nearly 20 years ago that would be irrelevant to the conversation.”
She believes the focus on Turner’s past was an attempt to “distract” from the issues.
Turner stepped down, she says, so that the organization can move forward without unwanted attention.