Along with amending the nondiscrimination ordinance on Tuesday, Jan. 19, the Greensboro City Council also reauthorized nondiscrimination amendments passed in 2015 by a unanimous vote.

There was some question about whether the City Council actually needed to reauthorize the amendments passed in 2015, “to expand protections to the LGBTQ community by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”  Those amendments had been nullified by the bathroom bill – House Bill 2 better known as HB 2, and then by the compromise bill that replaced HB 2 in 2017.  Part of the compromise was that there would be a sunset on the prohibition against local jurisdictions expanding their nondiscrimination ordinances, and that sunset was Dec. 1, 2020.

With the state prohibition lifted and the ordinances still on the books, some said that there was no need to reauthorize ordinances. So, you could view the vote by the City Council as purely political theater.  The vote gave this City Council the opportunity to promote its agreement with the City Council in 2015 that protection against discrimination should be extended to the LGBTQ community.

Most of the discussion at the City Council meeting that was supposed to be about reauthorizing these amendments was actually about the next item on the agenda, passing a new nondiscrimination ordinance.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan, in explanation of the motion to reauthorize the amendments passed in 2015, said, “In this item we are simply reaffirming those ordinances and we are defining what the definition of sex is and we are adding natural hair, which is very important. We are going to expand the definition of employment.”

Then the City Council took off on a discussion of the next agenda item, which is actually the one that added natural hair and expanded the definition of employment.

So, in this case it was understandable that the discussion skipped the reauthorization and moved to the new nondiscrimination ordinance because that is what Vaughan said the council were considering.

Councilmember Tammi Thurm finally pointed out the discussion they were having had nothing to do with the agenda item or the motion on the floor.