CLGBTCC Opposes Position Taken By the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce

CLGBTCC Makes Case for Business and the Charlotte NDO Ordinance

Published Tuesday, May 24, 2016
by Melissa Morris, President

The Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce is in complete disagreement with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce’s recent efforts to push for a compromise by Charlotte City Council and is reviewing next steps with affiliation.

Over the past few weeks, the Charlotte LGBT Chamber has reviewed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, better known as HB2 and its effects on Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and the metro region. The affiliation with the Charlotte Chamber has been focused on economic development and an expansion of both professional and business networks.

This affiliation was forged to assist the LGBT Chamber in recruiting and facilitating business growth and talent in the marketplace, as well as presenting Charlotte and the region as an inclusive and welcoming space to businesses, visitors and residents. Inclusion and diversity are essential for attracting and retaining the talented workforce that is critical for growing great companies and building a greater Charlotte.

Due to recent statements released by the Charlotte Chamber and its leadership, the CharlotteLGBT Chamber is reviewing its current affiliation and how to proceed with an organization that believes LGBT rights should be put on a five year plan. The LGBT Chamber notes that its mission, core values and best practices do not align with the current positions held by theCharlotte Chamber.

Melissa Morris, President of the Charlotte LGBT Chamber stated, “Sadly, the current position of the Charlotte Chamber leaves our Board of Directors no choice but to carefully review our affiliation with the Charlotte Chamber.” She further added, “We obviously value our relationship as a diversity partner and minority chamber, and are thankful for the service that the Charlotte Chamber has provided. Unfortunately, by calling on our city council to rescind the expansion of protections passed in February, the Charlotte Chamber is no longer aligned with our mission to protect all of our members against statewide discrimination.

Rescinding these protections, as a good faith effort, for an unwritten deal with the NC General Assembly is misguided and can only be seen as leaving LGBT business owners, professionals and students vulnerable with no recourse.”

Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina, and is seen in the top twenty cities in the nation. The CLGBTCC maintains their belief that there is no room for discrimination of any kind within the city of Charlotte, state of North Carolina or our nation. The vitality of business and efforts to maintain a robust economy hinge on a diverse workforce and the ability to feel safe, valued and protected from bigotry.

The Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce opposes HB2 and reinforces their call for a full repeal. The CLGBTCC has been consistent in their efforts to speak to businesses and professionals and hear concerns surrounding the effects of HB2. The LGBT Chamber is unwavering in its support for the Charlotte City Council and Mayor Roberts as they continue their support and commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equality.

Morris added, “The Charlotte Chamber should be considered the gate keeper within our business community that seeks to provide solutions as the arbitrator with governmental entities where there is conflict that may harm the economy or growth of our City. This charge must be taken seriously and not be driven by political interests or cronyism. The business community at large has been clear in its support to repeal the discriminatory legislation put forth by the NC General Assembly in HB2, and the Charlotte Chamber should respect their member and affiliate voices when we call for a repeal by the General Assembly.”

Going forward, the LGBT Chamber is committed to working with local minority chamber leadership to find the best path to bring diverse talent to our area and hopes the Charlotte Chamber will reconsider its call for submission by the Charlotte City Council. The CLGBTCC will continue to measure the economic impact of HB2, and updates can be found on its website, along with an ongoing list of supportive businesses throughout the community. The Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce mission is to integrate business development, social action and leadership… to facilitate economic proliferation for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and those who support equality for all.

Together, we will achieve this mission by increasing visibility through professional networking and marketing, maintaining operational sustainability, and strategic training.