Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
One of the most fundamental and essential roles of government is to protect the people and the common good of all citizens. The recent decision by the City of Charlotte to allow transgendered individuals access to whichever place of public accommodation they wish, including bathrooms and locker rooms, strikes at the very responsibility government has in ensuring public spaces are safe and secure.
This issue is principally about safety. Beginning in April, in the City of Charlotte, any man will be able to walk into a women’s locker room without recourse, so long as he claims a female sexual identity. That same man could follow a child into an opposite sex bathroom. While this poses obvious safety issues, this violates diocesan policies associated with our Safe Environment programs.
The city ordinance also does not protect the rights of religious institutions, such as churches, Catholic schools, and charities. In a country founded on liberty and freedom, how can religious institutions be coerced into abiding by an ordinance that violates the very teachings they hold regarding sexuality and human dignity?
Other cities may follow Charlotte. As the Catholic Bishops with jurisdiction over the State of North Carolina, we stand against this ordinance and encourage the state legislature and the governor to show courage by passing a law that protects individuals and religious institutions.
This opportunity is taken to express the teachings of the Catholic Church, namely that all people are created in the image and likeness of God and should be cared for with love, compassion, and understanding. We can live out this teaching while also protecting children and all women and men—as is our moral obligation.
Sincerely in Christ,
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge
Diocese of Raleigh
Bishop Peter J. Jugis
Diocese of Charlotte