Businesses Are Joining The Fight Against North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law

Published in The Huffington Post.

Companies are taking a stand against North Carolina’s new anti-LGBT law, which Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed on Wednesday.

House Bill 2, approved by the state’s General Assembly in a special session, prevents cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people. The law came in response to an anti-discrimination ordinance recently passed in Charlotte, which allowed transgender people to use the bathroom designated for the gender with which they identify. Conservatives, including McCrory, vowed to take down the so-called bathroom bill, arguing the law would give predators license to enter women’s bathrooms. (As HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel reports, this rhetoric has doomed many equal rights initiatives.)

The resulting legislation is a wide-ranging measure that blocks local governments from passing laws protecting LGBT people, requires schools to designate single-sex bathrooms based on “biological sex” and preempts city policies involving wages, benefits and other workplace regulations.

Corporate leaders in the state have been swift to condemn the law, echoing the backlash that helped take down Indiana’s “religious freedom“ law last year.

Dow Chemical, which has several factories in the state, tweeted its opposition to the law. Biogen, a biotech company that employs more than 1,000 North Carolinians, also opposes HB 2. PayPal, which just announced a new 400-person office in Charlotte, offered a similar message.

The law also drew opposition from the NCAA, which had planned to host at least 20 high-profile games in the state in 2017 and 2018, including the immensely popular Division I men’s tournament. The association hinted that HB 2 could change its mind.

“We’ll continue to monitor current events, which include issues surrounding diversity, in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites,” the organization said in a statement. “Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values. It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events.”

American Airlines, which has a major hub in Charlotte, also condemned HB 2.

“We believe no individual should be discriminated against because of gender identity or sexual orientation,” American Airlines spokeswoman Katie Cody said. “Laws that allow such discrimination go against our fundamental belief of equality and are bad for the economies of the state in which they are enacted.”

The NBA, which has scheduled the league’s 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, said its leaders “do not know” how the law will affect plans for the game.

Another big name going after the law is Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who fought Indiana’s anti-LGBT bill and is battling a similar bill in Georgia. Benioff told The Huffington Post he is lobbying Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Charlotte-based Bank of America, to speak out against the law. The bank, one of the largest employers in the state, has not specifically condemned the legislation, but did release a statement to the Charlotte Observer saying the company has “been steadfast in our commitment to non discrimination and in our support for LGBT employees through progressive workplace policies and practices.

Equality groups are also pressing Bank of America, along with BB&T and Burt’s Bees (a subsidiary of Clorox) to break their silence on the law.

“As three of the largest corporations in North Carolina, all of which proudly protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees through LGBTQ inclusive non-discrimination policies, we believe these corporations have a moral obligation and responsibility to voice their opposition when state legislatures put the communities they serve in danger of discrimination,” said Brad Delaney of One Million Kids For Equality in a Wednesday statement.

Facebook, which has a data center in Forest City, said it was “disappointed” by the law. “As a company, Facebook is an open and vocal supporter of equality. We believe in ensuring the rights of LGBT individuals and oppose efforts that discriminate against people on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation,” a company spokesperson said.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was among those from outside the business community to express disappointment.

On Thursday evening, demonstrators gathered outside the governor’s mansion on North Blount Street in downtown Raleigh. Several were arrested, according to posts to Twitter and Facebook.

LGBTQ Organizations Call on Big Business in North Carolina to Oppose Legislature’s Attempt to Repeal Charlotte LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Protections.

 

Charlotte, NC – A coalition of LGBTQ organizations led by Equality North Carolina, Campus Pride, and One Million Kids For Equality is calling on Bank of America, BB&T (Branch Bank & Trust), Burt’s Bees, and it’s parent company Clorox to oppose the North Carolina legislature’s attempt to repeal Charlotte’s recently passed city ordinance that aims to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination.

These new legal protections mean that as of April 1st businesses in Charlotte can’t discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender customers, in addition to long-standing protections based on race, age, religion and gender. The ordinance applies to places of public accommodation, such as bars, restaurants and stores. It also applies to taxis.

Immediately after passage of the new city ordinance many within the North Carolina legislature began advocating for statewide legislative action to block local governments from enacting their own nondiscrimination protections. When North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory and Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger announced that they would not convene a special session of the legislature to address new legislation, the legislature took it upon themselves to convene a special session. The special session started today at 10am.

“As three of the largest corporations in North Carolina, all of which proudly protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees through LGBTQ inclusive non-discrimination policies, we believe these corporations have a moral obligation and responsibility to voice their opposition when state legislatures put the communities they serve in danger of discrimination” said Brad Delaney, President of One Million Kids For Equality

A copy of the letters to Bank of America, BB&T, and Burt’s Bees (Clorox) are available here:

https://onemillionkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/NC-BofA-Letter.pdf

https://onemillionkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/NC-BBT-Letter.pdf

https://onemillionkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/NC-Clorox-Letter.pdf

 

LGBTQ Organizations Call on Big Business in North Carolina to Oppose Legislature’s Attempt to Repeal Charlotte LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Protections.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 23, 2016

Media Contact:

Matt Hirschy, Equality North Carolina

(919) 829-0343 [email protected]

Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride

(704) 277-6710 x1 [email protected]

Brad Delaney, One Million Kids for Equality

(206) 429-5357 [email protected]

Charlotte, NC – A coalition of LGBTQ organizations led by Equality North Carolina, Campus Pride, and One Million Kids For Equality is calling on Bank of America, BB&T (Branch Bank & Trust), Burt’s Bees, and it’s parent company Clorox to oppose the North Carolina legislature’s attempt to repeal Charlotte’s recently passed city ordinance that aims to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination.

These new legal protections mean that as of April 1st businesses in Charlotte can’t discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender customers, in addition to long-standing protections based on race, age, religion and gender. The ordinance applies to places of public accommodation, such as bars, restaurants and stores. It also applies to taxis.

Immediately after passage of the new city ordinance many within the North Carolina legislature began advocating for statewide legislative action to block local governments from enacting their own nondiscrimination protections. When North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory and Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger announced that they would not convene a special session of the legislature to address new legislation, the legislature took it upon themselves to convene a special session. The special session started today at 10am.

“As three of the largest corporations in North Carolina, all of which proudly protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees through LGBTQ inclusive non-discrimination policies, we believe these corporations have a moral obligation and responsibility to voice their opposition when state legislatures put the communities they serve in danger of discrimination” – Brad Delaney, One Million Kids For Equality

A copy of our joint letters to Bank of America, BB&T, and Burt’s Bees (Clorox) are available here:

https://onemillionkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/NC-BofA-Letter.pdf

https://onemillionkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/NC-BBT-Letter.pdf

https://onemillionkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/NC-Clorox-Letter.pdf

Equality North Carolina is dedicated to securing equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) North Carolinians. Equality NC is based in Charlotte, NC. For more information, please visit http://equalitync.org

Campus Pride is the leading nonprofit organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBTQ students. Campus Pride is based in Charlotte, NC. For more information, please visit http://campuspride.org

One Million Kids For Equality works to empower youth and their allies around the world to share their stories and create change in legislatures, courts, and most importantly hearts and minds. For more information, please visit https://onemillionkids.org

The Personal Stories Project is a social media based organization that promotes activism, advocacy and support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community and our allies through the sharing of personal stories. For more information, please visit http://personalstoriesproject.org

BiNet USA is America’s oldest advocacy organization for bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer-identified and unlabeled people, BiNet USA facilitates the development of a cohesive network of independent bisexual and bi-friendly communities; promotes bisexual and bi-inclusive visibility; and collects and distributes educational information regarding sexual orientation and gender identity with an emphasis on bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer (bi+) communities. For more information, please visit http://binetusa.org

Equality Federation is the movement builder and strategic partner to state-based organizations advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people. For more information, please visit http://equalityfederation.org

###