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Mecklenburg County commissioners pass nondiscrimination ordinance

It comes just days after Charlotte's nondiscrimination ordinance went into effect.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Tuesday night, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance. 

The ordinance gives discrimination protections for people who work anywhere, no matter the size of the workplace. 

The ordinance will only have an impact on unincorporated Mecklenburg County, meaning the towns in the county won't have to follow it.

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It comes just days after Charlotte's nondiscrimination ordinance went into effect. Charlotte city leaders unanimously passed the city's nondiscrimination ordinance in August and went into effect on Oct. 1.

"There are times when you have to take a leap of faith. We have to just go out there and say, 'Ok, well we're going to do this and see what they do,'" Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham said, adding, "You know, this is about dignity. But the more I thought about it, you don't have dignity unless you have strength and this is the strength. This ordinance is the strength."

The county's nondiscrimination ordinance will protect people in private employment as well as public accommodations from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, as well as natural hairstyle. 

"Tonight's discussion reaffirms the importance of LGTBQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances, in Mecklenburg County and across the state," Kendra R. Johnson, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina said, in part, in a statement. "Measures like these will make Mecklenburg County a better place, especially for people with multiple layers of marginalization."

Contact Hunter Sáenz at hsaenz@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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