CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolinians who are part of the lesbian, gay and transgender communities are slowly seeing new protections being passed by local governments across the state.
Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Durham, Greensboro and Orange County have all passed measures recently to protect LGBTQ citizens. Last week, Mecklenburg County's board of commissioners passed a resolution supporting a non-discrimination ordinance that would protect members of the LGBTQ community.
The City of Charlotte is also considering a similar measure.
"There's a groundswell of community support there," said Kendra Johnson, executive director of Equality NC, a LGBTQ rights organization.
Despite the push for progress, Johnson said her organization is taking a more deliberative approach with cities and counties.
"We want them to pass something that will be meaningful, and will have a direct impact the folks who are most marginalized," Johnson said.
Unlike five years ago, gay rights groups aren't seeing the opposition to the non-discrimination ordinances from state lawmakers. At the time, Charlotte city leaders got into a messy back-and-forth with Raleigh, leading to a ban on local LGBTQ protections that expired last December.
In various press reports, Senate Leader Phil Berger (R, Eden) indicated overturning the local non-discrimination ordinances isn't a legislative priority.
Legal challenges could still be mounted by several of the state's conservative groups.
But with recent progress on the local level and new leadership in Washington, D.C., Johnson is cautiously optimistic.
"We still have a lot of work to do ... but we have an opportunity to do so in this climate, thank goodness," Johnson said.
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