No action planned by Asheville City Council on existing nondiscrimination ordinance

Mayor Esther Manheimer speaking at the March 8, 2016, City Council meeting.


On March 8, the City of Asheville received many calls related to misinformation that City Council was voting on measures to address bathroom use as it relates to gender identity.

While there was discussion at Tuesday’s Governance Committee and an update from Mayor Esther Manheimer at the end of the March 8 City Council meeting, no action was taken — and none is planned.

To clarify what did occur at the Governance Committee, Deputy City Attorney Kelly Whitlock gave an overview regarding the February 22 vote of the Charlotte City Council to amend Charlotte’s existing nondiscrimination ordinance. Charlotte’s existing nondiscrimination ordinance specifically exempted bathroom use. Charlotte’s amendment, among other things, repealed the exemption.

Whitlock also provided a summary of the City of Asheville’s current ordinances and policies involving nondiscrimination. Whitlock told Governance Committee members that Asheville’s current ordinances do not specifically address bathroom use or the use of other city facilities.

Following the presentation by the City Attorney’s Office, the committee, made up of Mayor Esther Manheimer, Vice Mayor Gwen Wisler and Councilman Keith Young, recommended that no action be taken by Council.

Because of the many calls the City received on this matter, Mayor Manheimer addressed this issue at the end of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, explaining what happened in Charlotte and saying that no action on this matter was planned by Asheville City Council. Several people in attendance addressed Council during the public comment period both in favor and against any action.

No action was taken and none is planned.

The City’s Governance Committee meets the second Tuesday of every month at 3 p.m. in City Hall, first floor conference room.

Here is link to the City’s ordinance titled City Policy of Nondiscrimination: City of Asheville ordinance_nondiscrimination policy.