Proposed Asheville Ordinance
Special Report - February 14, 2011
A majority of the Asheville City Council has indicated support of a four-part proposal the council is expected to consider at its February 22 meeting that would greatly expand homosexual rights in Asheville. Four city council members joined a group calling itself “People of Faith for Just Relationships” at a press conference on January 25 at the First Congregational Church in Asheville, where they proposed the ordinance aimed at pre-empting possible action by the North Carolina legislature on an amendment to the state constitution preserving marriage. The Reverend Joe Hoffman, spokesman for the group and the pastor of First Congregational, was quoted in the Asheville Citizen-Times as saying that the North Carolina legislature has "once again put on the agenda the defense of marriage act defining marriage as between one man and one woman and likely will try to rescind anti-bullying legislation."
The proposed ordinance for Asheville that is being pushed by the pro-homosexual group, “People of Faith for Just Relationships,” would:
- Extend the city's employment discrimination clause to include "sexual orientation," "gender" and "gender identity or expression."
- Enact an anti-bullying ordinance for all city institutions and grounds.
- Create a domestic partner registry to recognize same-sex relationships. The registry would aid employers in recognizing the relationships.
- Endorsing and supporting the rights of same-sex couples to share equally in the familial rights and responsibilities of civil marriage.
The four members of the Asheville City Council who attended the January 25 press conference and stated their support for the proposed ordinance are: Gordon Smith, Brownie Newman, Cecil Bothwell, and Esther Manheimer. The three remaining members of the Council are Mayor Terry Bellamy, Jan Davis, and Dave Russell.
Last year, the Asheville City Council joined a few other municipalities in North Carolina, including Durham and Chapel Hill, in enacting public benefits for same-sex partners of city employees.
“As a local government in North Carolina, Asheville has authority to act only as delegated by the state through our Constitution or specific statutes,” said Jere Royall, counsel for the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “North Carolina’s anti- discrimination laws do not include the terms ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity,’ and when these terms were included in our state law for the first and only time in the anti-bullying bill in 2009, a specific provision was included which stated that the law did not create any new protected classes. We predicted the misinterpretation of the use of these terms and the affirmation of their associated behaviors, despite assurances from the bill supporters that this would not happen. These and similar city and county-level efforts to undermine marriage are troubling when considered in light of the fact that North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast without a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
Asheville Council Wants DP Benefits - February 25, 2010
Copyright © 2011. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.