Thursday April 23, 2015

A North Carolina "religious exemption" bill that would have permitted discrimination and opened a can of worms of potential unintended consequences was killed today.

"Today, true North Carolina values of fairness and justice prevailed with the announcement that the state's so-called 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act' (or RFRA) would no longer be considered in the General Assembly's 2015-2016 session," said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. "This decision is a testament to the actions of thousands of North Carolinians–from business leaders to faith communities to a majority of North Carolina voters–who made their voices heard over the past several months through emails, letters, calls and in-person meetings and who pushed back on the notion that religion should ever be used to discriminate against North Carolinians."

Equality Federation staff partnered with our member Equality North Carolina to bring in faith groups and national LGBT partners as the coalition was being built, and to ensure that the lessons being learned from other states were brought to bear on the effort. Now, we must continue our coalition work in order to stop another troubling bill that would allow magistrates and registers of deeds to decline to perform marriages based on their religious beliefs and any other legislation that would permit discrimination.

Following the national outcry over Indiana's "religious exemption" bill, similar efforts have been defeated in Georgia, Colorado, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming.


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