A new member of North Carolina’s General Assembly is an openly gay man and a vocal gay rights advocate. Executive Director of Equality NC, Chris Sgro, was picked on Saturday to finish the term of Representative Ralph Johnson, who recently passed away.
Equality NC is a gay rights advocacy group that sued the state over North Carolina’s recent anti-LGBT legislation. Sgro says that repealing this discriminatory law will be the focus of his term.
“Ralph was a great leader, and I’m going to have big shoes to fill,” Sgro on Saturday. “I don’t have any intention of seeking this office long-term, but I am humbled and glad that at this time, as we work to repeal [House Bill 2] HB2, there will be at least a single out member of the General Assembly.”
Even though there have been gay members of the General Assembly in the past, Sgro is the only openly homosexual representative in the current General Assembly as debate continuous over repealing the contentious NC anti-LGBT bill that is causing a complete uproar.
“We have allies in the General Assembly and allies are great,” Sgro said. “But it’s a critical need when you’re talking about things that deeply impact these communities, to have members of these communities as part of the discussions.”
The General Assembly meets on April 25th.
The blowback following passage of the new state law has been swift and loud. Most recently, Paypal has abandoned North Carolina and Bruce Springsteen has recently pulled out of a scheduled concert in the state. There is growing concern among Republicans and Democrats in the state at the loss of business in as companies, investors, and advocates have becoming increasingly vocal in criticizing the state bill
“It’s my hope I’ll be able to work with the governor and members of both parties to repeal HB2,” Sgro said. “I know there are good, fair-minded people on both sides of the aisle, and I want to work as part of a bipartisan coalition so we don’t have this continued detrimental impact on LGBT and on North Carolina as a whole.”