The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday September 17th

HB2: Everyone's business

On March 28, Andrew Cuomo of New York became the first governor to ban nonessential travel to the Tar Heel state.

“We will not stand idly by as misguided legislation replicates the discrimination of the past,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Cuomo was later joined by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin and mayors of major U.S. cities — like Ed Lee of San Francisco — in banning nonessential travel of public employees to North Carolina.

“I believe strongly that we should be adding more protections to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in the United States, not taking them away,” said Lee, who in 2015 banned travel to Indiana after the passage of a law that allowed businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers.

Some critics question the constitutionality of the North Carolina law’s denying localities the ability to pass legislation to protect the rights of members of the LGBT community or the provision preventing lawsuits over discrimination from reaching state courts.

“This bill is about so much more than transgender persons in bathrooms, but the legislature has tried to pitch it that way because for ordinary voters not paying much attention, simply keeping men out of women’s restrooms seems sensible,” said Steven Greene, a political science professor at N.C. State University.

Other critics of the law argue that it was passed in an evasive or undemocratic way.

“Polling shows only about 25 percent of N.C. voters support (House Bill 2), but the legislature rushed it through without the possibility of input from the public,” said Ben Graumann, the development manager for Equality NC.

The current backlash against the bill is not only driven by grass-roots activism and engagement of voters but also by businesses nationwide.

In an official statement on March 24, the NBA said, “We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte.”

Other major businesses, such as Google, Apple, IBM and Dow Chemical — which has several factories in the state — have also condemned the discriminatory measures contained within the bill.

“Dow is disappointed in the signing of (N.C. House Bill 2). We will continue to call for a comprehensive federal framework to ensure fairness for all,” Dow Chemical said in a statement.

As national media attention continues to turn toward North Carolina, the list of business leaders speaking out in opposition to House Bill 2 grows larger.

“... Major businesses like Bank of America and American Airlines haven’t just come out in opposition — they’re contemplating pulling a considerable amount of their business operations out of the state,” said Graumann.

“This has the potential to be not only a public image disaster for North Carolina but an economic nightmare.”

Greene said the number of protests in the days since the bill was signed into law show that the people of North Carolina both think this law will hurt the state and plan to hold legislators accountable.

“Given the national coverage and pushback already from businesses and other states and municipalities, this is clearly not good for North Carolina,” said Greene.


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