North Carolina state employees can be fired for being gay. That's the claim from some gay rights activists who hope to pass a new anti-discrimination bill.
Wake County Democratic State Sen. Josh Stein introduced Senate Bill 544 on Thursday. It amends the state's anti-discrimination statute. Right now, state agencies cannot consider a person's race, religion, color, creed, national origin, sex, or age in hiring, firing and promotions. This bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity to that list.
"Really, what we're talking about is just fairness," said Stuart Campbell, Executive Director of Equality NC. "We don't think it's right for anyone to be fired based on anything other than how they do their job."
But some conservatives vow to fight the bill saying the state does not need another protected class of people.
"What this bill would actually do is give special rights on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity so it doesn't invite discrimination to leave it out of the law," NC Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald said.
A committee will soon take up the bill. In previous years, similar measures have not gotten very far.