The Backlash Against North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law Is Growing

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (D) at the 2014 gay pride parade CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ERIC RISBERG
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (D) at the 2014 gay pride parade CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ERIC RISBERG

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (D) announced on Friday that all city-funded nonessential travel for employees to North Carolina will be barred after the state enacted a law that erases discrimination protections for the LGBT community.

North Carolina’s legislation, which was passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor in just one day, is targeted at undoing an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance recently passed in Charlotte by banning any local nondiscrimination laws. But it also goes much further, banning transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender unless they change their birth certificates, preventing civil suits even when discrimination is documented, and prohibiting cities and counties from passing employment requirements — a higher minimum wage or paid sick days, for instance — that go beyond state law.


“We are standing united as San Franciscans to condemn North Carolina’s new discriminatory law that turns back the clock on protecting the rights of all Americans including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals,” San Francisco’s Lee said in a statement. “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.”

While San Francisco is the first governmental entity to take a stand against the law, a huge number of businesses have already spoken out. A number of technology companies — including IBM, which has a big presence in the state; PayPal, which just announced the opening of a new office there; Apple; Facebook; Google; and Salesforce — have all spoken out against the law.

In the sports world, the NBA, which is set to host the All-Star Game in Charlotte next year, has spoken out against the law and put the location of that event into question. The NCAA, which is planing to hold the men’s basketball tournament in the state in 2017 and 2018, says it’s monitoring the situation, as is the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the oldest African-American sports conference, which holds its annual basketball tournament in the state every year. Meanwhile, ESPN had been considering Charlotte for a possible site for the X Games in the summer but has now said it embraces “diversity and inclusion and will evaluate all of our options.”

Others have joined in as well. American Airlines, whose second-largest hub is in Charlotte, said, “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.” Lowe’s, based in Mooresville, said it “opposes any measure in any state that would encourage or allow discrimination.” Dow Chemical, which has several factories in the state, tweeted that it is “disappointed” in the signing of the law, and Biogen, a biotech company that employs more than 1,000 people in the state, also tweeted its opposition.