Corporations No Longer Sit Idly By on Discrimination

Apr 5, 2016

Photo credit: Laura Greene/The Enterprise, via Associated Press

By James B. Stewart

When North Carolina voters were considering a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2012, the silence from North Carolina companies was deafening.

“I called the top eight to 10 chief executives in the state, and half wouldn’t even take my call,” recalled Mitchell Gold, the chairman and co-founder of the furniture maker and retail chain Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams, which is based in Taylorsville, N.C. “Only a few were willing to say anything.”

And to the dismay of Mr. Mitchell and other gay rights advocates, voters approved the amendment by a margin of 20 percentage points.

Four years later, that corporate silence has turned into a roar.

Last week, North Carolina’s Legislature overruled a Charlotte ordinance protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It further barred any municipality in the state from extending protections beyond those already enumerated in state law — which notably does not shield people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, quickly signed the legislation.

This week, Bank of America — which is based in Charlotte and is not only the largest corporate employer in the state but also a major donor to state political campaigns — said it was joining with 90 other national companies to seek repeal of the law.

“Such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business,” it said in a statement.


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3 comments on “Corporations No Longer Sit Idly By on Discrimination

  • @OP – “Such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business,” it said in a statement.

    If employees are discriminated against by taxi-drivers, restaurants, hotels etc. during the normal course of their business travel and meetings, it should be obvious to anyone with more than a half functional brain, that this will disrupt business!



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  • @OP – When North Carolina voters were considering a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2012, the silence from North Carolina companies was deafening.

    However – people with a better informed view and a more moral perspective are taking action against the bigoted ignorance of this backwater!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-36000905
    Bruce Springsteen has cancelled a concert in North Carolina, joining business groups in condemning a state law that rolls back protection for gay and transgender people.

    The law invalidated several local anti-discrimination measures that protected gay and transgender people.

    t also requires people to use public toilets that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates.

    Major companies like Apple and Bank of America have criticised the law.

    “Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them,” Springsteen said in a statement.

    “It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”

    Springsteen and his band were scheduled to perform in Greensboro on Sunday.

    On Tuesday, tech company Pay Pal dropped plans to expand in the state, pulling out about 400 jobs.

    A television series for the streaming service Hulu decided to film in Canada rather than North Carolina because of the law.

    There have also been calls to move major sporting events out of the state including the NBA All-Star Game.

    Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, defended the law calling it “common sense”. He said news reports about the law and the backlash were “smearing our state in an inaccurate way”.



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