Royal Oak Bans Travel to NC in Wake of Anti-LGBTQ Legislation

Renaissance_Unity_Brown_TopRoyal Oak Bans Travel to NCBubbleTea Ad in Wake of Anti-LGBTQ Legislation

(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 12, 2016)

ROYAL OAK, MI – Across the country municipalities and corporations have been making pledges not to travel to the state of North Carolina, and the City of Royal Oak is among them.

On Monday the City Commission unanimously approved the proposal that prohibits the City from using public resources to fund, sponsor or in any way support nonessential travel to North Carolina.

royal_servicesBecause out of state travel for municipal staff and officials is rare, the move is more symbolic than substantive.  However the wave of such proposals has had an impact on the state.

At issue is House Bill 2, which was signed into law by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on March 23 which took away the right of municipalities to pass local non-discrimination ordinances.

Royal Oak passed a non-discrimination ordinance in 2013 that bans discrimination against, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, public accommodations and employment. In Michigan it is still legal to fire someone or deny them service because they are gay or gender-non-conforming.  However, individual communities have enacted protections and practices to protect their LGBT residents, workers and guests. According to Unity Michigan there are currently 39 local governments that have such ordinances.lisa schmidt law

In North Carolina, the new law arose in response to a similar local ordinance passed by the city of Charlotte in February.  Legislators almost immediately held a special session to overturn the local ordinance and ban future ordinances.

The nation responded with a wave of boycotts of the state.

PayPal cancelled plans for an operations center in the state, costing North Carolina hundreds of jobs.  Lionsgate Films cancelled plans for a project there as well.  The Family Equality Council cancelled plans for their annual weekend retreat that would have brought families from around the country to the state, and the tourism dollars that come with.  Even singer Bruce Springsteen cancelled his North Carolina show in opposition to the new law.

Additionally municipalities have been sharing the same sentiment by banning travel to the MBREW draft onestate. Royal Oak is the first city in Michigan to adopt a no-travel policy in the wake of North Carolina’s new law.  However, they are joined by many other cities including Salt Lake City, Dayton, Atlanta, New York and Seattle.  A newly formed coalition, Mayors Against Discrimination (MAD) includes New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Seatle Mayor Ed Murry, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and mayors of Honolulu, Santa Fe, Tampa, Oakland, Portland and others.

“Royal Oak supports equality, and in keeping consistent with the values of our community we will not spend public money in states that are actively undermining and rolling back the basic human rights of their citizens,” said Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison. “It’s important that cities like ours send a message to leaders in North Carolina and across the country that all people deserve equal protections under the law, and that we stand in solidarity with the LGBT community in opposing discrimination.”

Ellison, who is running to be State Rep for the 26th District, added  “It is unconscionable that in 2016 we are still debating whether all people should be treated equally Royal Oak will keep this policy in place until North Carolina repeals their unconscionable pro-discrimination law.”


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