Always Welcome Charlotte


Always Welcome Charlotte

Deeply rooted in our city’s DNA is a warm and welcoming spirit. Charlotte’s energy and optimism have attracted a diverse community of residents and visitors. Our business climate and highly talented workforce continue to lure new industries to our vibrant city. The Always Welcome campaign will be a catalyst in uniting our community and remind­ing the world that we are a place that supports, celebrates and welcomes all who visit, live, learn, work and play here. We are also a place that is open for business, embraces and promotes diversity, inclusion and equality and knows our differences make us stronger. Even as our city continues to expand and grow, our genuine and open to all attitude will always be a part of what makes Charlotte so special.


Latest Executive Order from Governor McCrory

According to an April 12, 2016, press release from the governor's office, "Governor Pat McCrory has signed an Executive Order to protect the privacy and equality of all North Carolinians. Executive Order 93 clarifies existing state law and provides new protections for North Carolina residents."

According to the release, Executive Order 93 does the following:

  • Maintains common sense gender-specific restroom and locker room facilities in government buildings and schools
  • Affirms the private sector’s right to establish its own restroom and locker room policies
  • Affirms the private sector and local governments’ right to establish non-discrimination employment policies for its own employees
  • Expands the state’s employment policy for state employees to cover sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Seeks legislation to reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination

For more details, please visit


AALAS President Dr. Laura Conour's Initial Response to HB 2

As AALAS President, I wanted to update the general membership on the recent passage of HB 2 by the North Carolina legislature and discuss its impact on the AALAS National Meeting this fall in Charlotte, NC. This anti-LGBT law eliminates municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such provisions from being passed by cities in the future. Charlotte recently passed such a city ordinance and the NC legislature and Governor enacted this law as a counter-measure. HB 2 additionally forces transgender individuals to use public facilities in accordance with the biological sex recorded on their birth certificates and also prevents cities from regulating wages, benefits, and work hours for city workers and contractors.

Many of you have asked if the AALAS National Meeting can be relocated to a nondiscriminatory state. The AALAS Executive Committee met with the AALAS office Directors yesterday to review these options. Unfortunately, at this late date, if AALAS exited contractual agreements for the meeting in Charlotte, our professional organization would incur a minimum of $3 million in financial penalties and refunds. Payment of these penalties would deplete our financial reserves severely. Locating an alternate city for the 2016 meeting during high convention time would be difficult. Additionally, there are currently more than 100 anti-LGBT bills that have been filed in 29 states as of the beginning of this month. These bills contain language relating to religious refusal, promotion of “conversion therapy,” anti-transgender practices, and language that nullifies local civil rights protections. While there are a significant number of states that are defeating these bills, Arkansas, Indiana, North Carolina, and Mississippi have signed these bills into laws. In order to avoid a situation similar to our current predicament, we would need to avoid these 29 states further limiting our options.

What has AALAS done about this thus far?

  • Last weekend at the National Meeting Program Committee (NMPC) meeting, Dr. Ann Turner, Executive Director of AALAS, and her staff met with senior staff of the Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau. Two senior staff members from Charlotte also attended part of the NMPC to discuss the situation.
  • The AALAS office has been in contact with the Charlotte Housing Bureau to discuss the impact of HB 2 on our conference attendance.
  • The AALAS office has reviewed our contracts for the 2020 National AALAS Meeting to be held in Charlotte, NC and has informed the Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau that we are considering other venues for this meeting.
  • Dr. Turner is sending letters voicing the concern and outrage of our organization to key contacts within the state and in Charlotte.
  • The AALAS Executive Committee and Board of Trustees have scheduled emergency meetings this week to discuss the current situation and to define a plan of action and communication for our general membership.

Some states and cities have instituted travel bans for state and city employees in protest of HB 2 and this potentially may prevent many of our members from attending our National Meeting. There are roughly six months before the meeting is held and my hope is that in this time, the North Carolina state legislature and Governor McCrory will repeal or significantly modify this law. The AALAS office was notified yesterday that the legislature reconvenes on April 26 and that the Governor has stated that he is open to revisiting this legislation. Additionally, the ACLU and Lambda Legal have filed a joint lawsuit challenging this law.

Big business and influential organizations are also voicing their opposition to this law and North Carolina is losing current and new revenue in protest to this legislation. I encourage each of you to send letters to the following addresses:

North Carolina Tourism Commerce

Wit Tuttell
Executive Director
15000 Weston Pkwy
Cary, NC 27513

North Carolina Chamber

S. Lewis Ebert
President and CEO
North Carolina Chamber
701 Corporate Center Dr
Suite 400
Raleigh, NC 27607

Office of the Governor

Governor Pat McCory
116 West Jones St
Raleigh, NC 27603

For those of you who are considering boycotting the AALAS meeting in protest, I encourage you to reconsider and think about coming to Charlotte to support the city that passed an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance to protect their community. Many of you had great suggestions on how we can voice our protest and demonstrate our support while in Charlotte. I’ve forwarded those suggestions to the AALAS office and we are looking into many of these options now.

I am committed to continue to communicate updates and actions to the general membership as this situation continues to unfold. For those of you who have reached out to me already, thank you for your suggestions. I personally plan to be front and center in Charlotte, along with my wife of almost 20 years.

Thank you again for your support.

Laura Conour, DVM, DACLAM
AALAS President

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