ncOn March 23, the North Carolina General Assembly held a special session to rush through—in less than 12 hours—legislation attacking the LGBTQ community. House Bill 2 abolished all local nondiscrimination laws that go beyond state law, leaving LGBTQ people unprotected across the state, and would force transgender people to use bathrooms that match the sex listed on their birth certificates in government facilities, putting them at risk of harassment and violence. In addition, the law bans living wage ordinances and takes away the right to sue for employment discrimination based on race, religion, sex and the other categories that are protected in existing law.

Since Governor Pat McCrory signed the law, an unprecedented number of major corporations, small businesses, faith communities, and others have have united behind a single message: repeal House Bill 2.

Last week, Federation member Equality North Carolina, Human Rights Campaign and local transgender leaders hand-delivered a letter from over 120 major CEOs to the governor calling for repeal. From tech giants like Facebook and Google, to major banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, to leading companies in hospitality, biotech, pharmaceuticals and more, these business leaders made clear why discrimination has no place in their businesses and in the state.

(Click here to see the letter and complete list.)

The claim that this radical law hurts North Carolina’s economy is proving to be true. Since HB2 passed, Lionsgate productions has moved filming of a TV show to Canada, PayPal cancelled plans announced three weeks ago to hire 400 new employees in the state, and Red Ventures has said they will reconsider hiring 500 new employees in the Charlotte area if the law is not changed. Likewise, the High Point Furniture Market, a furniture and home decor trade show that is the largest economic event in the state has warned that many buyers have cancelled plans to attend this year.

Five governors and 7 mayors of major cities across the country are banning taxpayer-funded travel to the state for their employees.

At the same time, hundreds of small businesses have signed onto Equality North Carolina’s Equality Means Business program. These Main Street businesses and small firms are proud to support equality and display the Equality Means Business sticker in their places of business.

Equality Federation is working closely with Equality North Carolina and other partners to train spokespeople, connect people with their legislators, and keep the pressure coming on all fronts as we call on Governor McCrory and the legislature to repeal House Bill 2 when the legislature convenes April 25.

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Ian Palmquist

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