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CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Some people say this has been a long time coming, and Charlotte City Council members say they are pleased there was bipartisan support to pass this measure.

Before the meeting, groups gathered in front of the government center expressing why now is the time for the Charlotte City Council to pass a non-discriminatory ordinance.

“We live in a city where just putting the picture of one’s family on their desk could be enough for them to get fired from work,” said Tonya Rawls from the Center For Social Justice.

Employments wasn’t the only aspect of their life in jeopardy people told the council. Many who spoke said they can be discriminated against at restaurants, schools, or when applying for housing.

Some called passing the ordinance a baby step towards equality and having protection for the LGTBQ community.

The amended ordinance will protect natural hairstyles, veterans, gender identity, familial status, and sexual orientation as protected classes.

“I love this city,” added Elizabeth Schob, who supports the ordinance. “But it’s been really difficult feeling like the city doesn’t love me back. And I’m lucky because I am part of a church that has fully embraced members of the LGBTQ community without reservation or judgment for years.”  

Others asked the council about their religious liberty. Saying the ordinance would hurt small business owners and force them to comply with an ordinance that goes against their beliefs.      

“We’re dealing with you because you have never invited the evangelical church into the CRC,” said Philip Benham, who urged the council to vote against the ordinance. “No matter how you try to be broad-minded, you’re becoming very narrow-minded- and discriminatory and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

Council members voiced their support for the ordinance, and it passed unanimously.

Meaning those who started hours before the meeting with no protection, are relieved by the outcome.

“It’s what we’ve been working for so long,” added Xzaviar Boston, with Carolinas LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce. “For the coalition with the chamber as well as so many other organizations in North Carolina.”

There was an amendment introduced by council member Tariq Bokhari to add political affiliations and opinions to the protected classes. That amendment was voted down.