There is still no information about the “Ordinance Amendment” on the Greensboro City Council agenda for the Tuesday, Jan. 19 meeting.
However, councilmembers received a copy of the proposed resolution and ordinance amendment on Saturday, Jan. 16.
Councilmember Justin Outling said, “All of this has been done completely out of the view of the public.”
He added, “It is remarkable to me that you don’t have a work session on this.”
The ordinance being amended according to the title is on discrimination “to add “sex” to certain provisions, to define sex to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and to add natrual (sic) hair to certain provisions.”
What is on the agenda as “Ordinance Amendment” is actually reinstating amendments to three ordinances on discrimination that were passed by the City Council on Jan. 6, 2015, but then nullified by the North Carolina legislature when it passed House Bill 2, better known as HB2, in March 2016. A year later the NC legislature passed House Bill 142, which established a sunset for the prohibition against local ordinances such as the ones passed by Greensboro in 2015. The sunset was Dec. 1, 2020.
Those amendments passed in 2015 have never been revoked by the City Council, which means that although they were in the code of ordinances they were not enforceable because of the state law.
This amendment will reinstate those ordinances that prohibit “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in addition to the already protected categories of race, sex, gender, color, ethnicity, religion disability (sic), familial status, or political affiliation.”
The amendment adds protection for hairstyles. The resolution states, “routinely people of African descent are deprived of educational and employment opportunities because they are adorned with natural or protective hairstyles in which hair is tightly coiled or tightly curled, or worn in locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, or Afros.”
The resolution states, “discrimination on the basis of natural or protective hairstyles that people of African descent are commonly adorned with violates existing federal law.”
The resolution also states that the amendment to Chapter 12 of Greensboro’s code of ordinances deals with housing and will have to be approved by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development before it goes into effect.