Hillsborough Passes LGBTQ Protections

The town of 7,000 people is the first in NC to protect equal rights after Legislature made doing so illegal.

On Monday, January 11, 2021, the Hillsborough, North Carolina Board of Commissioners enacted an ordinance protecting members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination. The vote makes Hillsborough, a town with a population of 7,000 people, the first municipality in the state to pass LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections since 2016, when the state legislature passed HB2 in reaction to Charlotte’s recently passed ordinance protecting its residents from discrimination.

HB2 prohibited overturned such ordinances and prohibited any municipality or county from passing “gay equality” laws. Repercussions were swift, including cancellation of sports events, concerts, scheduled film productions, and corporate relocations that cost the state an estimated $1 billion in revenue. The legislature then passed a less sweeping ban that expired in December of this year.

An LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance is not currently on Asheville City Council’s agenda, though several other municipalities do plan to discuss such ordinances this month. Elected bodies in Carrboro and Chapel Hill plan votes on Jan. 12 and 13, and on Orange County commissioners and Durham City Council will consider LGBTQ protections the following Tuesday.

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