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The history of LGBT protection efforts in North Carolina

Mecklenburg County leaders passed a non-discrimination resolution, hoping to make Charlotte more welcoming for all. Sounds simple, but history says otherwise.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Gay, lesbian and transgender people in Mecklenburg County could soon get a little more protection under local laws after county commissioners unanimously passed a non-discrimination resolution aimed at making the Charlotte area a more welcoming place. 

County leaders say they want to expand their non-discrimination ordinance to protect members of the LGBTQ community. The resolution calls on citizens to "treat all persons with respect and dignity" and calls businesses and municipalities to adopt non-discrimination policies.

The mostly symbolic resolution seems simple and straightforward but its history is filled with controversy. 

If this sounds familiar, you might remember a very similar public spat between Charlotte City Council and state lawmakers in 2016. Charlotte wanted to expand protections to LGBTQ citizens, but Raleigh said no. 

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The ban, known as House Bill 2, got national attention and became known as the infamous "bathroom bill." What happened next was a major political and financial fallout, with concerts, corporations and other events pulling out of North Carolina over the law. Even the NBA moved its All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of it. 

The ban on local governments passing non-discrimination ordinances of their own expired in December. Since then, Chapel Hill, Durham and Orange County have all passed protections for LGBTQ citizens. Mecklenburg County is poised to join that list. 

RELATED: New bills aim to expand anti-discrimination laws in North Carolina

RELATED: Flashpoint | Biggest issues heading into 2021, Charlotte's growing size, and HB2 ordinance

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