Governors and Corporations Unite Against North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Bill

Apple, Airbnb, Facebook, and Reddit have signed an open letter protesting the measure.

Image by Gerry Dincher via Flickr

After signing the anti-LGBT House Bill 2 into law, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory walked straight into a whirlwind of criticism. Organized by the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina, the effort to pressure McCrory into repealing the law is uniting governors from other states and big corporations like Apple, Airbnb, Facebook, and Reddit, as well as smaller businesses.

The North Carolina law would require that local boards of education permit individuals to use only the bathrooms that correspond to the gender identified on their birth certificate. While HB 2 gives local boards flexibility in establishing single-occupancy bathrooms for transgender students, the coalition of activists, businesses, and governors believe that the law amounts to legally sanctioned discrimination based on gender identity. The law also overrides local anti-discrimination ordinances, like one recently passed in Charlotte, and prevents municipalities within the state from creating their own minimum wage standards.

While corporations signed an open letter drafted by HRC and ENC, governors from Vermont, New York and Washington issued bans on nonessential travel to North Carolina. The latter move was echoed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is actively wooing businesses put off by North Carolina’s new law.

The 80-plus signatories to the open letter, published March 29, agree that HB 2 doesn’t reflect their companies’ values, those of the country, or those of an overwhelming majority of North Carolinians.

“We are disappointed in your decision to sign this discriminatory legislation into law,” the open letter reads. “The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business.”

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. Image by NCDOTcommunications via Wikimedia Commons.

“This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development,” the letter continues. “We believe that HB 2 will make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation’s best and brightest workers and attract the most talented students from across the country.”

The companies also say they believe HB 2 will impact North Carolina’s economy by driving prospective businesses and tourists away.

“Discrimination is wrong, and we believe it has no place in North Carolina or anywhere in our country,” the open letter reads. “As companies that pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, we strongly urge you and the leadership of North Carolina’s legislature to repeal this law in the upcoming legislative session.”

On March 28, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, Lambda Legal, and ENC filed a lawsuit in a North Carolina U.S. District Court against the state’s officials, including McCrory. The plaintiffs are arguing that the “sweeping North Carolina law” violates basic constitutional guarantees, including equal protection and due process.

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