Columbus City Council bans city employee travel to North Carolina

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Columbus City Council voted unanimously in favor of a travel ban to North Carolina for city employees Monday.

Councilman Shannon Hardin proposed the resolution.

“We are a community that is focused on inclusion, focused on diversity,” said Hardin. “Whenever we have a chance to take a standup and put a stake in the group and say in Columbus this is where we stand, we have to be loud and have the conversation.”

The non-essential travel ban comes weeks after North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) signed into law House Bill 2. The controversial law declares that state law overrides all local ordinances concerning wages, employment and public accommodations.

Local municipalities in North Carolina can no longer pass their own rules prohibiting discrimination in public places based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

North Carolina does have a statewide nondiscrimination law; it does not include specific protections for LGBTQ people.

Karla Rothan heads Stonewall Columbus. She applauded the work and support of the LGBT community by council members.

“It means our city is standing up for us and they are not going to patronize a state or city that legislates discrimination,” said Rothan.

The resolution came on the same day that news broke that an Ohio lawmaker plans to introduce a similar bill to the legislature.

State Representative John Becker (R) of Clermont County announced late Monday he wants to protect Ohioans to use public restrooms without fear of so-called “predators.”

Rothan said Becker’s proposal does nothing but discriminate.

“We don’t want to legislate discrimination,” said Rothan.”This is not something we want to put to put out there. It makes people feel like second class citizens, like they aren’t worth anything.”

Rothan said petitions are already circulating across the state to stop such a bill from becoming law. She said Stonewall Columbus is prepared to fight for LGBT rights, much like it did for marriage equality.

“Most of our legislature is not going to go for this,” said Rothan. “This is something I believe is going to be very isolated.”


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