WASHINGTON On March 22 the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) and Equality North Carolina slammed North Carolina's Republican leadership for their continued refusal to allow a clean up or down vote on the full repeal of HB2. Signed into law a year ago tomorrow by former Governor Pat McCrory who lost his bid for re-election over that unconscionable decision HB2 has cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars and continues to inflict profound harm on North Carolina's people, reputation, and economy.
HRC and Equality North Carolina also released a new video taking a look back over the past year and the very real harm HB2 has caused. The video makes clear that North Carolina cannot afford one more day of the deeply discriminatory law.
"It's now a full year since HB2 was signed into law, and the shameful political gamesmanship we're seeing from North Carolina's GOP leadership is beyond the pale," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "Instead of taking meaningful action, North Carolina's Republican leadership has given excuse after excuse as to why they can't allow a clean up or down vote. To be clear, their reckless obstructionism makes them directly responsible for the continued harm inflicted on the state. No more excuses. Republican leadership must immediately allow a clean vote on HB2 repeal."
"A year after the initial passage of the worst anti-LGBTQ bill in the nation, HB2 continues to hurt the economy, reputation, and people of our state every single day," said Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro. "It is baffling and saddening that Tim Moore and Phil Berger have refused to step up and provide real leadership by finally fully repealing HB2. I hear from lesbian, gay, bisexual, and especially transgender North Carolinians every day who face discrimination and potential violence because of this law. The state can't afford another day with it on the books our leaders must commit to full repeal right now. Only then can North Carolina's reputation and economy be fixed."
Over the past year, instead of repealing HB2, North Carolina politicians have passed legislation that is shamefully trivial and frivolous in comparison to the urgent need to repeal HB2. For example, North Carolina lawmakers:
Passed HB 469, which altered the way the town of Sunset Beach could use money earned from on-street parking meters.
Passed HB 292, "an act to require a license to operate a beach bingo game…"
Passed SB 132, "an act to establish a season for trapping foxes in Carteret County."
Introduced SB 303, which increase the penalty of traveling under the speed limit when "operating a motor vehicle in the leftmost travel lane of a controlled-access or partially controlled-access highway"
Filed SB 313, "an act to increase the number of barrels of malt beverages a small brewery may self-distribute."
Meanwhile, the people, reputation, and economy of North Carolina have continued to suffer very real harm caused by HB2. Here's just a snapshot of the overwhelming outcry over the past year:
Over 200 major business leaders, from Apple to Zola, signed an open letter to NC Gov. Pat McCrory opposing HB2, because discrimination is bad for business. The letter was first announced on March 29, 2016, when it was hand-delivered to Pat McCrory by HRC President Chad Griffin, Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro and transgender advocate Candis Cox.
On April 5, 2016, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman announced that the company will seek an alternative location for its new "global operations center." PayPal's investment was expected to bring 400 skilled jobs to North Carolina, with an annual payroll impact of more than $20 million. In its statement, Schulman said, "The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal's mission and culture."
On April 8, 2016 Bruce Springsteen cancelled his concert in North Carolina over HB2, saying, "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. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards."
On May 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice determined North Carolina's discriminatory HB 2 violates federal civil rights law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. At a press conference on May 9, Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke directly to the transgender community, saying "We see you. We stand with you, and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward."
On July 21, 2016, the NBA decided to stand up to North Carolina lawmakers who refused to repeal HB2 by pulling its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, NC. Despite the NBA's repeated warnings that it would have to consider moving the high-profile game out of the state if the anti-LGBTQ law was not repealed, the state's General Assembly shamefully adjourned after 100 days of inaction.
In North Carolina, basketball is king — but that didn't stop the NCAA from standing up for their LGBTQ players, employees and fans by vowing to move tournament events from the state because of HB2. The NCAA announced that they would move all 2016-2017 championship games out of the state on September 12, 2016.
On Election Day, NC Governor Pat McCrory, who signed HB2 into law, was defeated at the ballot box — the only incumbent governor from either party to lose on Election Day. Polling by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research showed that HB2 was the most cited issue leading to McCrory's defeat in those who voted against McCrory.
In February, the North Carolina Sports Association sent a letter to lawmakers warning of a loss of NCAA championship games through 2022 if HB2 is not immediately repealed. In the letter, the sports association warned that the NCAA decision could cost the state at least another half a billion dollars in economic activity when other sports organizations follow the NCAA's lead in moving events out of the state. In November 2016, Forbes estimated that the state had already lost hundreds of millions of dollars due to HB2.
In March, the Greensboro Coliseum Complex revealed it has lost $23.5 million in revenue from various championships and conventions because of HB2.
Equality NC is a statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer North Carolinians. For more information, please visit www.equalitync.org
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.