Photo credit: Jill Knight
From American Airlines to Lowe’s, and from Apple to Google, big companies are pushing back against North Carolina’s new law invalidating Charlotte’s protections for LGBT individuals.
Sports organizations also said they’re weighing the new legislation, signed Wednesday by Gov. Pat McCrory, as they schedule events in the state.
The NBA, which is set to host its All-Star Game in Charlotte next year, said it is “deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect.” The league said it doesn’t yet know what impact the law will have on its “ability to successfully host” the event.
The NCAA, which has men’s basketball tournament games planned in North Carolina in 2017 and 2018, said it is monitoring the situation. The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the oldest African-American sports conference in the U.S., has hosted its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte since 2006 and said Friday it is also monitoring the situation.
And cable network ESPN, which has been considering Charlotte Motor Speedway among possible sites for its summer X Games, said it embraces “diversity and inclusion and will evaluate all of our options” as it seeks the next site for the extreme-sports event.
At a time when North Carolina is trying to recruit companies to expand and grow, some business leaders said the new measure will jeopardize employee recruitment and economic development.
“We believe no individual should be discriminated against because of gender identity or sexual orientation,” said Katie Cody, a spokeswoman for American Airlines, which has its second-biggest hub in Charlotte. “Laws that allow such discrimination go against our fundamental belief of equality and are bad for the economies of the states in which they are enacted.”
Facebook, which has a data center in Forest City, also chimed in.
“We are disappointed by the recent events in North Carolina,” spokesman Andy Stone said, in a statement. “As a company, Facebook is an open and vocal supporter of equality. We believe in ensuring the rights of LGBT individuals and oppose efforts that discriminate against people on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”
The impetus of Wednesday’s special session was a provision in Charlotte’s expanded nondiscrimination ordinance that would allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender with which they identify. Critics of the Charlotte measure said it was “social engineering” to allow people born as biological males to enter women’s restrooms.
The new law prohibits any such bathroom flexibility, but it also will keep Charlotte and any other municipality from adding new protections for gays, lesbians or transgender individuals.
Source: The Charlotte Observer