News & Politics

LGBT Bathroom Hysteria Threatens North Carolina's Economy

North Carolina has come under threat from nearly 100 business leaders who attack a new privacy law which restricts biological males and females from using a public restroom belonging to the other sex. No, this is not The Onion.

Business leaders wrote a letter to North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory, strongly urging him to repeal a law which institutionalizes that most wicked of liberal bug-bears, discrimination. The heads of Apple, Facebook, Airbnb, Yahoo, Twitter, Salesforce, Marriott, Pfizer, Levi Strauss, and even Bank of America (the largest company in the state) have signed the missive, which reads:

Discrimination is wrong, and we believe it has no place in North Carolina or anywhere in our country. As companies that pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, we strongly urge you and the leadership of North Carolina’s legislature to repeal this law in the upcoming legislative session.

One would think, to warrant such a powerful denunciation, the law in question must be radical or absurd, like an ordinance banning a certain race from schools or a bill seeking to keep all Muslims out of North Carolina. On the contrary, this law seems rather straightforward, and something like it passed not that long ago in the (rather liberal) city of Houston, Texas.

As explained by the ever-so-objective Think Progress, the law states that school restrooms and locker rooms which are not single-occupancy must be single-sex and that students can only use the facility that matches their biological sex as stated on their birth certificate. It further decrees (oh, the horrors!) that all public agency restrooms follow the same oppressive procedures. Even worse, the law changes public accommodations to stipulate that “limiting bathrooms according to biological sex is not considered discrimination.”

“Individuals requiring an accommodation must not be allowed in the sex-segregated facility that does not match their identity,” explains outraged Think Progress writer Zack Ford. Boys cannot go into girls’ restrooms and girls cannot go into boys’ restrooms. The world is ending!

But transgender boys and girls can still use single-occupancy restrooms. The bill is not intended to discriminate against those who identify with a gender opposite their natural birth sex, but rather to ensure the privacy of boys and girls.

Nevertheless, the business leaders warn, “This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development.” Indeed, “We believe that HB 2 will make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation’s best and brightest workers and attract the most talented students from across the country.”

But the letter was not just drafted by business leaders — it was released by outspoken liberal groups the Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC. The ACLU is also filing a lawsuit against the state.

“This is part of a trend that has tended to backfire for Republican governors who are supportive of very radical legislation,” Colm O’Comartun, former executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, helpfully explained. “There is no better independent arbiter for what’s reasonable than a big corporation,” or a liberal group like the Human Rights Campaign, apparently.

O’Comartun piously declared of large corporations, “They don’t have a Democratic or Republican agenda, generally. They just want to do business.” I’m sure Bernie Sanders would disagree.

Next Page: Gov. McCrory’s Perfect Response.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory had a powerful response, however. He attacked public stands against the law as “demagoguery at its worst,” pointing out that the city of Houston, Texas, recently passed a similar law and faces no public backlash.

Last November, voters in Houston overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 1, also known as the Equal Rights Ordinance, which would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of their preference and would have punished noncompliant businesses with huge fines, up to $5,000. Houston hosted the NCAA Final Four men’s basketball championship last weekend, with no protest from the same businesses now condemning North Carolina.

“There are no protests for boycotts of Houston, Texas, during the Final Four basketball tournament. Nor should their be,” McCrory declared. “These corporations that are now criticizing North Carolina, they’re all going to be advertising during the NCAA championship, and there’s a lot of corporate and political and media elite hypocrisy about this. It’s really sad.”

There you have it. Not only is this law not “discrimination,” but the very same businesses condemning North Carolina are advertising and supporting Houston for the NCAA championship. Who’s being “radical” now?