(UR) Raleigh — In the face of mounting protest, on Tuesday, Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina stated he will seek to eliminate certain aspects of a controversial new law that specifically targets the LGBT community.
House Bill 2, often dubbed the Bathroom Law — officially, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — was approved by the General Assembly of North Carolina and signed into law by the governor on March 23.
Viewed by many as state sanctioning of discrimination against the LGBT sect, HB2 makes it illegal, state-wide, for transgender individuals to choose public restrooms based on their gender identities. The law also forbade local municipalities in North Carolina from crafting their own non-discrimination policies.
Outrage over the passage of HB2 was immediate and has come from groups and individuals far outside the LGBT umbrella — and in some cases, far outside North Carolina’s borders entirely.
Less than a week after the passage of HB2, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order banning all non-essential travel by state agencies to North Carolina.
Calling New York a “beacon of hope and equality for the LGBT community” in a statement, Gov. Cuomo decreed that “As long as there is a law in North Carolina that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people, I am barring non-essential state travel to that state.”
Then, in early April, Bruce Springsteen weighed in in on the issue by canceling a concert set for April 10, in Greensboro. In a public statement, citing the state’s move, “The Boss” explained his reasoning:
“To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress … As a result, and with the deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show set for Sunday, April 10th. Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them.”
Popular pornography website XHamster.com joined the protest on Monday, when it began refusing service to anyone from North Carolina. Justifying why North Carolinians will find a black screen — and zero porn — upon visiting the site, company spokesman Mike Kulich told Huffington Post:
“Judging by the stats of what you North Carolinians watch, we feel this punishment is a severe one. We will not stand by and pump revenue into a system that promotes this type of garbage. We respect all sexualities and embrace them.”
But perhaps the biggest hit with regard to protest has come from corporations.
On April 5, PayPal announced that, in light of the move by North Carolina officials, it would be abandoning its plan to open an operations center in Charlotte. The proposed investment would’ve seen 400 jobs created and millions in revenue pour into the local economy.
Similarly, on April 11, B Lab — a global non-profit which promotes the business of nearly 1,700 corporations within its network — announced that it would withdraw its October Retreat from North Carolina in response to the passage of HB2.
The organization had scheduled a series of events — including corporate talks for its B Corp CEOS, conferences for university educators, and even a street festival, among others — to take place in the state. These events were expected to generate substantial revenue for local businesses.
“B Corps seek to build a more inclusive economy,” B Lab co-founder Jay Coen Gilbert stated Monday, “and that is not possible with laws like HB2 on the books.”
Gov. McCrory’s executive order, issued Tuesday, eliminates the portion of the law that restricts local governments’ ability to design their own non-discrimination policies. But the mandate that transgender individuals must use public restrooms that correspond to their birth gender will remain.
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