RALEIGH, N.C. — State lawmakers introduced bills this week that would extend non-discrimination protections to LGBT state employees.

Josh Stein

“No state employee should experience discrimination on the job because of the color of their skin, their age, their religion, where they were born, any disability they may have, or who they love,” Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake), the sponsor of the Senate version of the bill introduced Thursday, said in a press release. “We need to update current laws to secure this fundamental protection for our diverse workforce in state government.”

The House’s version, introduced Tuesday, is sponsored by Reps. Paul Luebke (D-Durham), Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford), Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland) and Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford).

The bills seek to add the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the non-discrimination and equal opportunity provisions of the State Personnel Act.

Equality North Carolina, a statewide LGBT advocacy and education group, said it will make the employment bills the focus of their upcoming lobby day at the state legislature on April 16.

“In North Carolina today, decent, hardworking people can be fired simply because of who they are or who they love,” Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality North Carolina, said in a release. “In April, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied constituents from all corners of the state will come together in Raleigh with one goal in mind: to be a visible representation of the North Carolina lives impacted, and families harmed, by the threat of employment discrimination, including harassment and termination.”

Campbell added, “Through this day of action, Equality NC will not only stand with legislators willing to protect our state employees, but also mobilize hundreds of community, campus, faith and business leaders who are ready to work for equality in employment and beyond.”

The two bills in the state Senate and House are the latest in a several similar bills introduced in years past.

qnotes has reached out for comment on the bill to the offices of Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Gov. Pat McCrory. Stay tuned for updates early next week, after the Easter holiday.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.