No, Charlotte didn’t really just outlaw men’s and women’s bathrooms

No, Charlotte didn’t really just outlaw men’s and women’s bathrooms
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Charlotte’s City Council passed an ordinance this week that adds gender identity and sexual orientation to its list of protected classes — and predictably a lot of people are outraged.

[Agenda story: Why Charlotte is having such a tough time with ‘nondiscrimination’]

Most of the arguments against the ordinance are bad, and I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time on them. No, it doesn’t give predators a free pass on girls in the bathroom. No, it won’t lead to God striking down his vengeance on Charlotte.

I’m in favor of extending the protections to the LGBT community because it signals that we’re welcoming as a city and respect our fellow human beings. It’s not going to have a huge impact on the day-to-day life of most people.

That said, an anti-ordinance argument came across my inbox Wednesday that did seem reasonable and potentially disruptive. Basically, it argues that Charlotte accidentally outlawed men’s and women’s bathrooms (or locker rooms, showers, etc.) altogether.

This video from Rep. Dan Bishop (Republican-Mecklenburg) sums up the argument and it’s actually pretty compelling. Charlotte added sex to its list of protected classes and eliminated a provision that specifically allows there to be gender-specific bathrooms.

Turns out the argument is wrong.

I spoke with City Attorney Bob Hagemann today and he drafted a memo explaining why the YMCA is still going to have a men’s locker room.

Here’s his side of things.

1) It wasn’t the city of Charlotte’s intent to prohibit gender-specific bathrooms, and the city is the one who interprets the ordinance.

2) A lot of other cities have similar ordinances, and no judge has ever interpreted it that way.

3) It simply violates common sense.

These arguments were more compelling to me than Rep. Bishop’s.

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