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Saturday, April 02, 2016

120 Major CEOs & Business Leaders Urging North Carolina To Repeal Discriminatory Anti-LGBT Law

By Stephen Peters, Human Rights Campaign

Today, HRC and Equality NC, the state organization working to secure equal rights and justice for LGBT North Carolinians, announced that executives from Hyatt, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Northrop Grumman, American Apparel, Qualcomm, Twilio, Udacity, Pandora Media, and EMC Corporation have signed onto an open letter that now includes more than 120 leading CEOs and business leaders calling on Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal the radical provisions in the deeply discriminatory law that was rammed through the legislature last week.

The letter -- signed by dozens of CEOs from across the nation -- was first made public Tuesday afternoon, and came only a day after Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced he would veto anti-LGBT legislation in Georgia after facing a sustained outcry from a broad chorus of advocates and companies. A copy of the updated letter and its signatories can be found here and below.

"Discrimination is bad for North Carolina, bad for America, and bad for business," said HRC President Chad Griffin in announcing the open letter on Tuesday. "These business leaders are speaking out because they know this attack on lesbian, gay, bisexual and especially transgender North Carolinians isn't just morally wrong -- it also puts their employees, customers and North Carolina's economy at risk. For the sake of all North Carolinians, Governor McCrory and the General Assembly must act now to repeal this heinous attack on fairness and equality."

"North Carolina's place as a business leader in the South is based on fairness, inclusion, and diversity,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro Tuesday with the release of the open letter. “HB 2 does not represent North Carolina values, and it weakens our competitive edge. We are glad to see our business community in the Old North State standing up against discriminatory measures like this. Governor McCrory made a mess of our state last week, and our businesses are leading the charge to repair our state to a place of fairness."

On Monday, Gov. McCrory unbelievably claimed, “We have not taken away any rights that have currently existed in any city in North Carolina" -- but PolitiFact rated that claim as false. H.B. 2 has eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. The legislation also forces transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity, putting 4.5 billion dollars in federal funding under Title IX at risk. It also compels the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in state buildings, including in public universities. Lawmakers passed the legislation in a hurried, single-day session last Wednesday, and Governor McCrory quickly signed it into law in the dead of night.

North Carolina has the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first state in the country to enact a law attacking transgender students, even after similar proposals were rejected across the country this year -- including a high-profile veto by the Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota. North Carolina school districts that comply with the law will now be in direct violation of Title IX, subjecting the school districts to massive liability and putting an estimated $4.5 billion of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as funding received by schools from other federal agencies, at risk. This section of House Bill 2 offers costly supposed solutions to non-existent problems, and it forces schools to choose between complying with federal law -- plus doing the right thing for their students -- or complying with a state law that violates students’ civil rights. Read more about how this bill puts federal funding at risk here.

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