Yesterday’s post discussed North Carolina’s launch into the national spotlight with the passage of HB2, what’s being called an anti-LGBT law in the state. (Check it out here if you haven’t read part one. With follow up thoughts in the addendum.) Today I’ll be looking at the fallout from the North Carolina legislature’s abrupt decision to deny legal protection to an entire class of citizens.
My first heads up about this mess showed up in my Facebook feed. Someone from the NC Senate posted an alert about a bill being pushed through the General Assembly “at light speed.” It summed up the proposed legislation and launched the twitter tag #WeAreNotThis, a movement that exploded into social media like wildfire.
Unfortunately, although #WeAreNotThis opened the floodgates for LGBT supporters to express themselves, twitter does not have magical powers. The bill did indeed get shoved through the legislature and was signed into law that night.
If North Carolina’s governing body thought they’d only be facing a twitter shit storm then they vastly underestimated the domino effect they’d set into motion.
Yes, there was a public outcry in support of LGBT rights, but there has already been a financial cost to North Carolina for passing a law that essentially legalizes discrimination.
PayPal cancelled a $3.6 million expansion that would have brought 400 new jobs to the state. A NC based internet marketing company named Red Ventures is reconsidering an expansion which would have brought 500 jobs. Lionsgate chose to shoot its new comedy in Canada, eliminating 100 potential jobs for North Carolina, and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority states that their city has lost 13 conventions due to HB2. That’s millions of dollars in lost revenue from hotel rooms, transportation, meals, sightseeing, etc. (Badash, David. “13 Conventions Have Cancelled or Decided Against North Carolina Because of Anti-LGBT Law HB2.” New Civil Rights Movement. 8 Apr. 2016. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.)
LGBT advocacy groups released a letter co-signed by 80 chief executive officers and business leaders demanding HB2’s repeal. Listed among the supporters are IBM’s CEO, the head of Apple, and Microsoft’s president. Dow Chemical, American Airlines, and Wells Fargo have also condemned the bill.
The sports world is also taking note. The NBA has stated it may reconsider current plans to hold the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, and the NCAA suggested that HB2 may affect its decision about the location for future events and tournaments in North Carolina. (Killian, Joe. “The fallout from House Bill 2 just keeps getting bigger.” N&R greensboro.com. NEWS & RECORD, 12 Apr. 2016. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.)
Events already in place around the state are being cancelled in response to HB2’s passage. A few examples: author Sherman Alexie’s visit to Asheville, Bruce Springsteen’s concert, and an annual Architectural Digest event in High Point. Each one represents lost revenue for both local businesses and the state.
The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau has reported that four groups have cancelled events in Wake County, citing HB2 as the reason, resulting in a loss of approximately $700,000 in economic benefits. Sixteen other groups are currently reconsidering plans in Wake County; the combined economic impact of those events is an estimated $24 million. The largest potential loss? Raleigh expected to bid for a four-year contract with an undisclosed sports tournament that would bring approximately $4.5 million in spending to the area annually, but that’s been put on hold while event organizers monitor the HB2 situation. (Specht, Paul. A. “Raleigh’s visitors bureau says HB2 is affecting Wake economy.” The News & Observer. 11 Apr. 2016. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.)
Now let’s hop on over to twitter and see what today’s feed brings us:
- Deutsche Bank Freezes North Carolina Expansion, Citing Transgender Law
- The Obama administration is considering whether HB2 makes North Carolina ineligible for billions of dollars in federal aid for schools, highways, and housing since it violates standards for equal protection, due process, and Title IX.
- No ‘Wicked’ for NC: Composer Stephen Schwartz bans NC shows over HB2 (works include “Pippin,” “Godspell,” “Wicked,” “Working,” and “The Magic Show”)
- Governors of several states have banned official travel to North Carolina in protest.
- And, in an attempt to stop this runaway train, Governor McCrory Signs Executive Order Regarding House Bill 2 – Posts Video. The ACLU was not impressed.
Yep. Still smack dab in the crosshairs.
There’s a parenting theory that lauds natural consequences. The consequence is tied closely to the behavior and helps the child learn what happens when he doesn’t behave according to your expectations. The fallout from HB2 is an excellent example of natural consequences for the leadership of North Carolina.
Expectation: The American public demands our elected officials protect its citizens from discrimination. We’ve already set in place legal safeguards that prevent bigotry based on race, age, religion, gender, and national origin, so it’s clear that equal rights are a core value in our society. Many areas of the country have already enacted ordinances protecting individuals based on sexual orientation.
Behavior: North Carolina’s legislative branch drafted a bill that explicitly designated classes protected against discrimination by law (see list under “Expectation”), notably excluding sexual orientation from that list. Additionally, within the bill the state legislature stripped power from local governments. The governor then signed the bill into law.
“The General Assembly declares that the regulation of discriminatory practices in employment is properly an issue of general, statewide concern, such that this Article and other applicable provisions of the General Statutes supersede and preempt any ordinance, regulation, resolution, or policy adopted or imposed by a unit of local government or other political subdivision of the State that regulates or imposes any requirement upon an employer pertaining to the regulation of discriminatory practices in employment, except such regulations applicable to personnel employed by that body that are not otherwise in conflict with State Law.” Session Law 2016-3, House Bill 2, Section 3.1, G.S. 143-422.2(c). (Italics mine.)
Translation – Employment discrimination is a state issue. As such, the list of protected classes in this bill overrides any attempt by local government to add another group of citizens.
Natural Consequence: HB2 runs counter to our core value of equal rights for every citizen, and the backlash has been commensurate. The general public’s resistance to the law has been wide ranging, vocal, and intense. Leaders in business are combining their influence to convince the governor to repeal HB2. Artists are refusing to perform in the state. Companies are applying financial pressure by withholding business or canceling expansions that would create jobs. Our governor and North Carolina legislature are feeling the repercussions of passing this law on every level.
Governor McCrory’s Executive Order yesterday gives me hope that the message is finally getting through. The Order itself won’t fix this, but it may signal a shifting tide.
When you’ve created a mess of such massive proportions, you really can’t roll it back piecemeal. The governor needs to recognize the enormous error North Carolina has made in attempting to exclude the LGBT community from discriminatory protections and repeal House Bill 2.
The only question now is exactly how long it will take for Governor McCrory to accept this, and how much damage North Carolina will sustain in the meantime.