CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Christian Examiner) – "Today the Charlotte, North Carolina, City Council will vote on a proposed ordinance which, if approved, would unbelievably allow transgenders to use the public restrooms of the opposite biological sex," Franklin Graham blogged March 2, and he urged Christians "to voice their strong disapproval" by phoning the mayor and council members today to ask they vote against the controversial Sexual Orientation Gender Identity ordinance.
Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief agency, said concerned Charlotte citizens should call (704) 336-2241 to voice their opposition or sign the "Don't do it Charlotte" petition.
A hearing on SOGI was scheduled for Feb. 23 but changed to March 2 in order to provide adequate time for discussion. The proposed bill would add "marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression" to four existing city non-discrimination ordinances.
But perhaps the most controversial element of the bill is what is has been called "bathroom rights" that would allow persons of "confused gender" (those whose emotional gender does not match their body).
SOGI Opponents say this would permit men who simply identify themselves as women to use any public girl's bathroom—and vice versa—without any repercussions.
In a statement released on BillyGraham.org, Graham said he could not see why the city council "would even consider this. It is not only ridiculous, it's unsafe."
"Common sense tells us that this would open the door, literally, to all sorts of serious concerns including giving sexual predators access to children," he said. "It violates every sense of privacy and decency for people of both sexes, adults and children."
However, proponents of the ordinance claim such accusations are scare tactics.
The Charlotte Non-Discrimination Ordinance Coalition published a fact sheet arguing, "Only people who are actually transgender are protected by the law" and that SOGI in no way protects men "pretending to be women to access the restroom." But the group did not explain what safeguards would prevent such criminal behavior if the ordinance passed.
Likewise, conservatives point to Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington, to make their point.
A 45-year-old man who identifies himself as a woman has exposed his male genitalia to girls as young as 6 years old in the women's locker room which is shared with a high school swim team and a children's swim academy.
The city council meeting tonight offers to be contentious. More than 50 citizen speakers have signed up to comment on a proposed ordinance today at the Charlotte City Hall. Meanwhile, David Benham, whose Benham Brothers HGTV show was pulled because of his conservative religious beliefs, will be leading a protest at 4 p.m. Eastern Time in front of city council chambers.
For his part, Benham said no matter the intentions of the ordinance people, especially Christians, need "to foresee dangers"
"We are called to be salt and light," Benham told BillyGraham.org—a reference to Proverbs 28:4. "And we're doing the best we can to rally the churches to be salt and light."
Both Franklin Graham and Don't Do It Charlotte provided the following contact information for Charlotte residents to use to offer their views on the SOGI ordinance:
Mayor Dan Clodfelter, (704) 336-2241, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Pro Tem Michael D. Barnes, (704) 509-6141, email@example.com
Claire Green Fallon, (704) 336-6105, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Howard, (704) 336-4099, email@example.com
Vi Lyles, (704) 336-3431, firstname.lastname@example.org
Patsy B. Kinsey, (704) 336-3432, email@example.com
Al Austin, (704) 336-3185, firstname.lastname@example.org
LaWana Mayfield, (704) 336-3435, email@example.com
Gregory A. Phipps, (704) 336-3436, firstname.lastname@example.org
John N. Autry, (704) 336-2777, email@example.com
Kenny Smith, (704) 574-7241, firstname.lastname@example.org
Edmund H. Driggs, (704) 432-7077, email@example.com