The anti-LGBT law in North Carolina needs no introduction, as it has been causing quite the controversy lately. As you probably know, this law blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules that protect LGBT people.
Now, two very important things have happened around this law. The first is that the Attorney General of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, has said that he won’t defend the law should it be taken to court.
Speaking at a press conference he said: “We should not even be here today, but we are. We’re here because the Governor signed statewide legislation that puts discrimination into the law. Obviously, the LGBT community is targeted, but also people who are discriminated against because of race, religion or other classes people. The law even eliminates local ordinances that protect veterans and wages of local people in companies that contract with cities. Not only is this law a national embarrassment, it will set North Carolina’s economy back if we don’t repeal it. It will have a negative impact on people.”
“The threats to our economy will grow even darker the longer this law stays in effect.Over the last 15 years, our office has defended the state, its people and agencies when they’ve been sued. Our office will continue to do that, except it will not defend the constitutionality of the discrimination in House Bill Two.”
There was a less than positive response from State Senate Leader Phil Berger, who said: “Roy Cooper’s refusal to defend the law makes clear he wants the ACLU to win by default in federal court what they can’t win at the ballot box and allow men to walk into locker rooms at YMCAs across our country and undress in front of young girls.” (Pssst. Hey, Phil, you might want to dial back on the scaremongering there.)
The second important thing around House Bill Two, is that over 80 prominent business executives have signed an open letter calling for a full repeal of the law. This letter, which is addressed to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, reads: “We write with concerns about legislation you signed into law this week, House Bill 2, which has overturned protections for LGBT people and sanctioned discrimination across North Carolina. Put simply, HB 2 is not a bill that reflects the values of our companies, of our country, or even the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians.”
“We are disappointed in your decision to sign this discriminatory legislation into law. 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.”
“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. It will also diminish the state’s draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses, and economic activity. Discrimination is wrong, and we believe it has no place in North Carolina or anywhere in our country. 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 is alongside the responsive action taken by Mayors of San Francisco, Seattle and New York City and the governor of New York City who publically banned employee travel to North Carolina.
Hopefully that pressure, alongside the open letter, will see this law vetoed.