United Methodist Women is standing with members and mission partners in North Carolina protesting state’s HB 2 law. The organization will hold an action against HB2 in January 2017 during its Leadership Development Days training in Charlotte, and will move the May 2017 training for its Mission u program study leaders from Charlotte to Jacksonville, Florida, in protest of the law.
North Carolina’s House Bill 2 was dubbed “the bathroom law” by those focusing on its requirement that persons use public bathrooms based on their biological sex rather than gender identity. The law also:
- Prohibits local government from setting minimum wage levels, working conditions or benefits that require more than what is mandated by the state.
- Prohibits local governments from setting hiring, wage or benefit standards for its private contractors.
- Reduces the statue of limitations on legal redress of certain equal employment opportunity violations.
- Allows discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment and public accommodations.
Harriett Jane Olson, United Methodist Women chief executive officer, said the organization’s action is a matter of justice.
“Discrimination in employment and public accommodation based on sexual orientation today is no more acceptable than discrimination based on race was 75 years ago,” Ms. Olson said. “In 1942 our predecessors stood against racial segregation and moved the Assembly from St. Louis, Missouri, to Columbus, Ohio, so that black and white members could stay in the same hotels. Today’s decision is a current application of the same principle, caring for all our members, paying attention to where and how we spend their Mission Giving and standing with those who are oppressed.”
United Methodist Women presidents of North Carolina and Western North Carolina conferences also spoke out against HB 2, as have eight United Methodist bishops in the North Carolina area.
"People don't understand the bill is hurting more people through inclusion of statues that limit workers' rights. The present political climate in and the influence of an election year is misleading people to believe that HB2 is about bathroom choices only. It is much more than that," said Tonya Lanier, president, Western North Carolina United Methodist Women.
Joann Barbour, president of the North Carolina Conference United Methodist Women said, “This decision makes me proud to be a United Methodist Women member.”