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North Carolina Chamber to LGBT Community: You Don’t Deserve Full Equality

by Stephen Peters May 12, 2016

Today, HRC and Equality NC blasted the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce for calling for unacceptable, partial solutions to the tremendous damage inflicted on the state’s reputation and economy by Governor McCrory and state lawmakers in passing HB2. In an interview with local TWC News, the chamber’s president and CEO, Law Ebert, told the LGBT community they should compromise and allow discrimination to continue.

Ebert refused to call for full repeal of HB2, even as 200+ leading CEOs and major business leaders have now signed onto HRC and Equality NC’s open letter urging McCrory and the state’s General Assembly to repeal HB2.  With his unacceptable compromise, Ebert is ignoring the overwhelming outcry from the business community and opposing the chamber’s own members that have gone on record for repeal.

“Refusing to call for full repeal of HB2, the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s leadership has succumbed to pressure from anti-LGBT state lawmakers, and even worse, decided that LGBT North Carolinians don’t deserve nondiscrimination protections,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “The state’s chamber should instead be listening to the overwhelming outcry from the business community who are demanding HB2 be repealed. The only acceptable solution to the deep damage inflicted on the state by Governor McCrory is to fully repeal HB2 and replace it with commonsense, nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people.”

"It is clear that the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce is out of touch when 200 major CEOs have come out against HB2 -- yet the Chamber's leadership refuses to call for a repeal of HB2," said Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality NC. "The NC Chamber of Commerce needs to reevaluate its commitments to economic, community, and workforce developments when it is clear that HB2 is bad for business, our community and the North Carolina economy. The NC Chamber of Commerce must take the situation at hand seriously and listen to the countless large and small businesses that have voiced their disagreement and have called for a repeal of HB2."

In the fifty days since HB2 was signed into law, North Carolina has already lost more than a half billion dollars, or $10 million per day, in economic activity just from companies canceling or reconsidering plans to come to the state, and in cancelled conventions, concerts, and other lost tourism dollars. That doesn’t even include potential economic development that now just won’t happen in North Carolina because of McCrory’s radical law, or the potential catastrophic loss of federal funding for schools, roads, bridges, and other essential services. This is exactly why chambers like the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce have called for full repeal.

The NBA has threatened next year’s All-Star Game in Charlotte, NASCAR has spoken about its opposition publicly, and the NCAA has said it won’t schedule events - including the Final Four - in cities that don’t have fully-inclusive non-discrimination laws. Under the North Carolina Chamber’s suggested bill, North Carolina cities would still not qualify to be host cities for NCAA events.

Today also marks one month since HRC and Equality NC filed an open records request seeking information from the office of Gov. Pat McCrory, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, and House Speaker Tim Moore about their communications with anti-LGBT activists to pass the disastrous HB 2 into law. That request has still gone unanswered.

Gov. McCrory and state lawmakers are under increasingly intense pressure to repeal HB 2, including from the U.S. Department of Justice which has filed a lawsuit against North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, the state’s Department of Public Safety, and the University of North Carolina and Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina over HB2’s violations of federal civil rights law.  

Stephen Peters
Stephen Peters


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