North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law draws corporate objections

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Several prominent corporations with ties to North Carolina have objected to an anti-LGBT rights bill that was signed by the governor this week.

Bank of America, which is based in the state, said it supports “public policies that support non-discrimination” and that it’s committed to supporting “LGBT employees through progressive workplace policies and practices.”

The bill signed into law Wednesday overturned a city ordinance in Charlotte, North Carolina, that banned discrimination of LGBT individuals. The Charlotte ordinance was passed in February, but the state bill overruled it and prevents other North Carolina cities from enacting similar policies.

The bill also requires students in state schools to use bathrooms that correspond to their born gender and bans city minimum wages that surpass the state’s $7.25 an hour.

The flurry of corporate statements in North Carolina comes as a campaign heats up in Georgia to pressure Governor Nathan Deal to veto a bill that would allow faith-based groups to deny services to LGBT individuals. It was passed by the state’s legislature recently and Deal has until May 3 to decide whether to sign it into law.

Dow Chemical has plants in North Carolina. The company’s vice president of government affairs, Kevin Kolevar, said in two tweets that Dow was “disappointed” that the bill had been signed. He also said Dow would continue to fight for “fairness for all.”

BioGen, which is based in Durham, North Carolina, tweeted that it opposed the bill and supported “advancing the power of difference.”

Google called the new law “misguided and wrong.”

PayPal said on Twitter that inclusion is one of its “core values” and that it is “proud to champion LGBTQ equality.” The online payment company has a processing center in Charlotte. PayPal has received the Human Rights Campaign’s highest rating for LGBT workplace equality.

“Discrimination is a destructive force that erodes a company’s ability to grow and thrive by not allowing every person in that organization to realize their full potential,” the company said in a statement.

RedHat, a software company whose U.S. headquarters are located in Raleigh, North Carolina, said the bill was a “clear step backwards. Sad day.” Its tweet also included the hashtag #WeAreNotThis.

It’s not just big corporations that are speaking out.

Mitchell Gold is the co-owner of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, a modern furniture company that sells its products around the world. Its factory is located in the rural town of Taylorsville and is the largest employer in the county.

Mitchell Gold is openly gay and said in an interview with CNNMoney that he was staunchly against the bill.

“Discrimination is unhealthy for a potential workforce and an existing one. Employees will feel their dignity is being challenged,” Gold said.

He also noted that a costly special session of the state’s legislature was convened to overturn the Charlotte ordinance.

“It’s charging taxpayers to legalize discrimination,” Gold said.

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