Facebook, Reddit, Wells Fargo, Bank Of America CEOs Among Those Urging North Carolina To Repeal New Anti-LGBT Law

Image courtesy of Michael Daddino

Earlier this month, in a hurried legislative process, North Carolina lawmakers passed HB2, a bill that overrides and prevents local governments from establishing anti-discrimination rules against gay and transgender people. This morning, advocacy groups delivered a letter to NC Gov. Pat McCrory signed by top executives from more than 100 companies, all calling for the state to repeal the law.

The letter [PDF], organized by the Human Rights Campaign, was signed by CEOs of major tech and online companies (Facebook, Reddit, Google, PayPal, eBay, Twitter, Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, LinkedIn, Intel, Yelp, among others), retail and hospitality (Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, Starwood Hotels, Marriott) — and perhaps most importantly to North Carolina, banks.

Both Wells Fargo, which has a major corporate presence in Charlotte, and Bank of America, which calls Charlotte home, signed onto the letter.

It was a Charlotte city ordinance that would have allowed transgender people to use whichever public restroom they identify with that spurred the state legislature to pass HB2. The new state law overrides any local laws that provide anti-discrimination protections for people based on sexual preference or gender identity.

“We are disappointed in your decision to sign this discriminatory legislation into law,” reads the letter. “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. This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development.”

The businesses contend that HB2 will only complicate matters for North Carolina businesses seeking to recruit employees to move to the state. Similarly, it will hurt the state’s tourism appeal, argues the letter.

“Discrimination is wrong, and we believe it has no place in North Carolina or anywhere in our country,” concludes the letter. “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.”

This morning, HRC President Chad Griffin, Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro, and transgender advocate Candis Cox-Daniels traveled to Raleigh to deliver the letter to McCrory.

According to the HRC, the governor initially refused to meet with Cox-Daniels, but eventually relented.

“In our meeting with Governor McCrory, we made crystal clear that HB 2 is discriminatory, shameful, and needs to be repealed immediately,” said Griffin. “We also called on him to continue to meet with LGBT North Carolinians in the days and weeks prior to April’s legislative session. The question Governor McCrory faces is a simple one: will he seize this opportunity to show true leadership, or will he allow North Carolina to remain on the wrong side of history? This law is doing extraordinary damage to the state’s economic prospects, its reputation, and most importantly, it’s LGBT community. The nation is waiting and watching to see which path he will take.”

Sgro says they asked McCrory to not only repeal this law but to work with lawmakers to draft a piece of statewide legislation that provides “comprehensive non-discrimination protections including sexual orientation and gender identity.”

LGBTQ rights advocates are currently suing the state to overturn the law. Earlier this week, NC Attorney General Roy Cooper — who is also currently running for governor — said he could not defend the law, which he called a “national embarrassment,” because it runs counter to his own agency’s anti-discrimination policies.

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