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Charlotte City Council Votes Down LGBT Proposal

03-01-2015
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The Charlotte, North Carolina, city council has rejected a divisive LGBT proposal some say could negatively impact religious liberties.

The measure failed 6-5 Monday after an emotional meeting between supporters and opponents.

The controversial proposal would've made changes to the city's nondiscrimination policies already in place. Changes would've addressed five new characteristics, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

The issue prompted a grassroots movement called "Don't Do It Charlotte," whose participants raised objections to the proposal.

Before Monday's vote, they and other critics said there are alarming concerns surrounding what this could mean for the Charlotte, including a contentious provision that would allow transgendered people to use any bathroom in which they feel most comfortable.

Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has spoken out against transgendered bathrooms.

"It's not only ridiculous, it's unsafe. Common sense tells us that this would open the door, literally, to all sorts of serious concerns including giving sexual predators access to children. It violates every sense of privacy and decency for people of both sexes, adults and children," Franklin said.

"I've had a lot of people reach out to me concerned about their children being in the bathroom with adults of the opposite sex. The balancing act is, how do we properly address the concerns of the people who want it passed and the concerns of people concerned about their kids, and women concerned about their own safety in the bathroom?" Democrat Councilman Michael Barnes said.

The policy would have also forced private businesses to provide goods, services and accommodations to promote messages or ideas that could be contrary to their religious and conscience beliefs.

"Should a gay t-shirt maker be forced to create anti-gay marriage t-shirts? Should a Muslim t-shirt maker be forced to create pro-gay marriage t-shirts? That's exactly what this ordinance will do if passed," a letter from conservative leaders to the councilmen said.

The City Council received 40,000 emails and at least 75 people signed up to speak at the 6 p.m. meeting.

"This proposal divides and robs people of their first amendment rights. This is the first time in history we have seen a protective class created for behavior," Pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte (where David and Jason Benham attend), Dr. Mark Harris, said. 

"A lot of folks need to be paying attention to this tonight so that our elected officials will be held accountable," he said.

Pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, Dr. Mark Harris spoke with CBN News on what "Don't Do It Charlotte" is doing to raise awareness. Click play to watch.

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