Business impact of HB2 in limbo as companies call for repeal

Posted March 31
Updated April 1

— Gov. Pat McCrory met with the Human Rights Campaign president, the executive director of Equality N.C. and a transgender advocate Thursday to talk about House Bill 2 as several more businesses added their names to a long list calling for a repeal of the law.

National Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin was on hand to deliver the letter, signed by the CEOs of more than 100 corporations including Starbucks, Citibank, Hilton and Kellogg’s, to McCrory in person.

They’re calling on McCrory and state lawmakers to repeal House Bill 2, which they say is openly discriminatory against the LGBT community. Supporters of the law, however, don’t believe it will have economic impact.

Griffin said most major corporations have LGBT people in important roles and most won’t want to do business in a state where they’re not welcome.

“This governor and this legislature has sent the message to every single company in this country- all of those that the state is currently pitching in competition with other states to bring jobs here. He sent the message that this state is closed for business,” Griffin said.

Potential long-term economic impact is hard to assess, but tourism spending is already taking a hit with the High Point Furniture Market and Asheville reporting multiple cancellations due to the new law.

When Indiana passed a similar law last year, the City of Indianapolis lost $60 million in convention spending, according to the city’s tourism agency.

Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, which announced plans for a $25 million expansion in North Carolina on March 16, said on Thursday that they are reevaluating the decision in light of House Bill 2. In a statement released Thursday, the company said:

“Braeburn Pharmaceuticals believes in fair treatment and equality for all individuals in their communities. We oppose any legislation that discriminates against the LGBT community and are extremely disappointed with North Carolina’s recent passage of anti-discrimination legislation. Our central mission is to develop new treatments for patients with diseases that are often associated with stigma, such as addiction and schizophrenia. Building a manufacturing and research facility is a business necessity to ensure we fulfill our commitment to patients; we are reevaluating our options based on the recent, unjust legislation.”

Not all businesses oppose the new law, though. Tami Fitzgerald with the NC Values Coalition says hundreds have told her they support it, but most have asked to keep their names confidential for fear of backlash.

“The ones who don’t want their names made public are people who have to work every day. They don’t want their names made public because they don’t want to be badgered and sometimes they’re bullied by the LGBT activist community,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald doesn’t believe the controversy will cause any real economic loss. She believes the businesses opposing the new law will see a backlash of their own.

“The vast majority of people are grateful that the General Assembly and the governor passed this measure so this bullying going on by corporate America has to stop,” she said.

Fitzgerald’s group was scheduled to hold a prayer vigil Thursday night at 7 p.m. outside the Governor’s Mansion in downtown Raleigh. Another vigil is scheduled in Fayetteville near the county courthouse.

Opponents of the law are holding their own rallies Friday evening at 6 p.m. at the legislative building and Saturday afternoon at the Governor’s Mansion.


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  • Alex Yopp Apr 4, 2016
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    I'd like to see more discussion around these pieces! What if your local gov does not want Fracking and this law removes the ability of the communities to have a voice in this? The GOP has handed the oil Industry (and other big businesses) a gift wrapped and hidden in controversy over bathroom rights. The same thing has happened in Texas. The contradiction that the GOP has exposed itself when it comes to Federal vs State rights rolled down to State vs Community rights is undeniable.

  • Scott Wilson Apr 2, 2016
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    So the news story of the California guy dressed as a women filming women in the bathroom probably got buried by wral since they seem to be pushing this agenda. Sick and tired of libs pushing their sick twisted life styles on this nation. Nov 5 the exits will be open for you all to go to europe!

  • Barrett Powell Apr 2, 2016
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    I wish these companies cared as much about hiring people full time and paying higher wages than about which bathroom they use.

  • Jacob Smirnov Apr 2, 2016
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    Agreed! The thought of Apple removing their datacenters or removing their stores and Starbucks removing the hundreds of overpriced coffee shops from this state or any state is pure fantasy.

  • Charlie Watkins Apr 2, 2016
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    Men going into women's restrooms will boost NC tourism. Many men have wanted to go int the girl's bathroom forever. Let's do this !

  • Max Smirenny Apr 1, 2016
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    People are STILL protected under State laws, they can still file... they just must do it in a timely manner. Which does not preclude them from filing with Federal agencies. So get over it.

    I also wanted to add on a side note to this story: Houston Texas voters blocked a similar measure over a year ago... and yet all those BIG corporations that denounced the NC bill.... like IBM, Cisco and Quintiles ALL still have offices in Houston, and continue to do business there. So put up or shut up with the threats....

  • Mike Smith Apr 1, 2016
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    Despite the cute name, this bill is not about bathrooms. It overturns all existing anti-discrimination legislation based on sexual preference as well as gender identification . It permit discrimination in jobs, housing, and whatever else you can think of. It removes the right of NC citizens to go to court to fight discrimination in any form.

    Get your heads out of the toilet and see what's really going on here!

  • Jacob Smirnov Apr 1, 2016
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    The problem is far more fundamental. HB2 doesn't marginalize anyone. It protects all concerned.

    At the very core of the problem is that very few us realize that in the end how you "identify" yourself, doesn't matter at all. We are all the same. It's the emphasis on "Celebrating Diversity" instead of just acknowledging it that has caused all these problems. We need to CELEBRATE OUR COMMONALITY.

  • Andrew Sugg Apr 1, 2016
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    Not to oversimply all of the rhetoric, but in many ways this could be broken down into one powerful word that many lack....respect. Disrespect for others who may look, act, feel, seem different than you is what drives this division. HB2 happens to be more blatant representation of that. When a majority makes a broad decision to find ways to marginalize groups of others, no one wins in the end. It gets people anxious and tempers flaring. Walls get built, literally and figuratively. At the end of the day I believe most all of us want to live our own lives in a peaceful respectful manner without hurting others. Why is this a difficult concept for some to embrace?

  • Steve Clark Apr 1, 2016
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    I know it may not make sense, Betty, but speaking for myself... yeah.. wouldn't bother me.

    And just to be clear, IMHO, the problem isn't the legit Transgender, it's the straight man, peeper, that would have the Legal right to be in the locker room, just by Claiming he identified as a woman, and NO ONE could challenge him on that, without violating his civil rights.

    But yeah, I'd pee next to Bruce/Caitlin :-)