Nobody deserves to experience discrimination

Discrimination is never OK. It never has been, and it never will be. Denying someone a basic human right because of their race, religion, gender, gender identity or their sexual orientation is wrong.

Wednesday, March 23, North Carolina’s state Legislature passed a bill that prevents cities and counties within the state from creating their own anti-discrimination laws.

At first, that doesn’t sound too bad because the entire state would be unified in their laws and policies concerning its anti-discrimination protection for its citizens.

However, it was the context in which it appears this bill was passed that makes it no longer a good idea — to withhold anti-discrimination laws from reaching LGBT citizens of North Carolina.

One month prior to this bill being passed, Charlotte, North Carolina passed an ordinance that included two more categories in which a person could be protected against discrimination from businesses through anti-discrimination laws, according to NPR. In addition to the federal categories of race, religion, color, natural origin and biological sex, Charlotte’s city council added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list.

Had the general assembly not scheduled a special session before the ordinance had a chance to take effect, LGBT citizens of Charlotte would have been guaranteed protection against being discriminated by businesses, beginning April 1, according to NPR.

But that isn’t going to happen.

In a matter of 12 hours, North Carolina’s state Legislature kept this from happening by introducing, debating and passing the bill that Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law, according to NPR.

“It is the public policy of this State to protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of all individuals within the State to enjoy fully and equally the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of public accommodation free of discrimination because of race, religion, color, national origin or biological sex,” according to the Legislative declaration of the Equal Access to Public Accommodations Act.

The Act uses the term “Public Accommodations” as it is defined in the Persons With Disabilities Person Protection Act G.S. 168A-3 (8).

“Place of public accommodations includes, but is not limited to, any place, facility, store, other establishment, hotel or motel, which supplies goods or services on the premises to the public or which solicits or accepts the patronage or trade of any person,” according to the definition.

The Act then  states that designating a bathroom to a specific sex is not considered discriminatory.

The bill does not allow  transgender citizens to use a bathroom that is opposite to their biological sex unless their birth certificate has been changed, as the Charlotte ordinance would have.

That decision is not the part of the bill for which we are voicing our concern.

Our concern with the bill stems from the fact that the legislature could have included sexual orientation and gender identity in the list of those protected by anti-discrimination laws,  as was  done in Charlotte, but they didn’t.

We do not believe that it is right for places of public accommodation to deny services or products to citizens based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and we believe LGBT citizens should be included in anti-discrimination laws.

We agree with the approach  Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained in 2015 in relation to LGBT anti-discrimination laws.

“We call on local, state and national governments to serve all of their people,” he said, according to the Deseret News. “By striving to pass legislation that protects vital religious freedoms for individuals, families, churches and other faith groups while also protecting the rights of LGBT citizens in such areas as housing, employment and public accommodation in hotels, restaurants and transportation.”

At its finest, America represents freedom of expression and tolerance for others.

At its core, the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love everyone around us.

We believe that before a person is gay or straight, black or white, religious or not, he or she is first and foremost a human. They are a child of God. That’s why we believe that everyone deserve to be treated fairly.

Scroll Editorial: Approved by a 28-0 vote from the Scroll Editorial staff

'Nobody deserves to experience discrimination' have 2 comments

  1. March 30, 2016 @ 5:47 pm Nick

    Julie, this is a well-written opinion piece. With kindest respect, I take issue with the fundamental premise of your argument here – and you should, too. Let me explain.

    Your piece opens with these statements: “Discrimination is never OK. It never has been, and it never will be.” While it’s not entirely clear what you mean by “OK,” I take it to mean that discrimination is never morally permissible. And since discrimination is not morally permissible, as your argument goes, state law should forbid it.

    Yet, do you really believe that “discrimination is never OK”? Not ever?

    Consider colleges, institutions that discriminate against applicants on the basis of, among other factors, academic ability. If you believe it’s morally permissible for colleges to discriminate on this basis – or on any basis, for that matter – then don’t you, in fact, disagree with your opening statements? It would appear so.

    There are many other examples. Individuals discriminate regarding the persons they’re willing to date. (A woman who does not discriminate, in any way, regarding dating partners has zero standards.) Professional sporting institutions discriminate on physical ability. The Church discriminates on behavior. Heterosexual couples may be married inside a Church owned building; homosexual couples may not. A woman in a heterosexual marriage may work for the Church; a woman in a homosexual marriage may not.

    These are examples of discrimination, in one form or another. If you agree that any of these examples represents legitimate discrimination, then you must reject your opening statements. The real question, then, is not whether discrimination is ever morally permissible, but what “kinds” of discrimination are permissible and under what conditions. Therefore, you will need to argue why you believe the NC legislation allows for immoral discrimination, rather than morally permissible discrimination.


  2. April 5, 2016 @ 3:19 pm Taylor

    Thanks for taking a stand on this important issue. It wasn’t too many years ago that Mormons were the target of a similar type of discrimination. Were we to condone this blatant discrimination we would be no better than the supposed “Christians” who supported it in North Carolina, and we would be turning our backs on our own heritage.

    The Savior taught us to love our neighbor as ourself. The Hard Rock Cafe taught us to Love all and Serve all. Apparently North Carolina doesn’t understand the music of redeeming love.


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