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68 Companies Sign HRC’s Amicus Brief to Block North Carolina’s Discriminatory HB2

by Sarah McBride July 08, 2016

Today, 68 major companies joined HRC’s amicus brief in support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s effort to block some of the most egregious and discriminatory components of North Carolina’s HB2 law. HRC is continuing to gather corporate support for the amicus brief, which will be re-filed at several junctures as the case moves through the courts.

The brief, authored by former Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson, one of the nation’s most prominent attorneys, and his colleagues at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, advocates for the corporations’ transgender employees and customers, as well as employees with transgender family members, and details the harm that the anti-LGBT HB2 is inflicting on companies. The brief was filed in support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s request that a federal judge halt enforcement of HB2’s ban on transgender people using facilities consistent with their gender identity in government buildings, including airports and convention centers, pending a broader decision in the DOJ’s discrimination case against the state.

“These companies are sending a powerful message to transgender people and their families that America’s leading businesses have their back,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “It’s also incredibly significant that Ted Olson, the President Bush-appointed Solicitor General who led the way in making the conservative case for marriage equality, is now making the case for transgender equality. The fact that Olson and so many leading American businesses have come together on this brief demonstrates the breadth and depth of opposition to legislation as illegal, unfair and dangerous as HB2.”

“HB2 is a law that forces transgender persons to deny, disclaim, and conceal their gender identity, particularly whenever they wish to use single-sex restroom facilities on state or local government property,” said Theodore B. Olson. “In so doing, it forces transgender people to deny a fundamental feature of their character and personhood in the name of safety concerns that are wholly illusory and a slap in the face to all transgender persons who are simply trying to live their lives consistent with who they really are.  That so many in the business community are willing to stand up in opposition to HB2 underscores the immeasurable and irreparable harm the law is doing to the transgender community and to North Carolina’s economy.”

The 68 companies signing the brief are:

Accenture, Affirm, Inc., Airbnb, Inc., American Airlines, Apple, Biogen, Bloomberg LP, Boehinger Ingleheim USA, Box, Brocade Communications System, Inc., Capital One Financial Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc., Consumer Technology Association, Corning Incorporated, Cummins Inc., Dropbox, Inc., Dupont, eBay, Inc., Etsy, Everlaw, Expedia, FiftyThree, Galxyz, Gap Inc., General Electric Company, Glassdoor, Inc., Grokker, Hilton Worldwide, Honor, IBM Corporation, IKEA North American Services, LLC, Instacart, Intel Corporation, John Hancock, Levi Strauss & Co., LinkedIn Corporation, Logitech, Marriott International, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Microsoft Corporation, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Morgan Stanley, Nextdoor, NIKE, OppenheimerFunds, Orbitz Worldwide, PayPal, Pepo, Quotient, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Red Hat, Replacements, Ltd., Salesforce, Slack, SV Angel LLC, Symantec Corporation, TD Bank, NA, Teespring, The Dow Chemical Company, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc, ThirdLove, Tumblr, UnifyID, United Airlines, Inc., Williams-Sonoma, Inc., Yelp, ZestFinance, and Zynga.

The corporations argue in the brief that HB2 is an affront to their nondiscrimination policies, undermines their ability to do business within and outside of North Carolina, and stigmatizes and does immeasurable and irreparable harm to transgender people -- including their own employees, employees’ families, and customers. Estimates show that HB2 has already cost North Carolina more than 1,700 jobs, and more than a half a billion dollars in lost and at-risk economic activity.

Olson, the brief’s author, is a partner in Gibson Dunn’s Washington, D.C., office. He served as Solicitor General of the United States from 2001-2004 and is widely recognized as one of the nation's premier appellate advocates.  Olson has argued 62 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, including the two Bush v. Gore cases arising out of the disputed 2000 presidential election and Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case upholding the overturning of California’s Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriages. Gibson Dunn partners Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr. and Matthew D. McGill, both veterans of the Proposition 8 litigation, and senior associate Ashley S. Boizelle aided Olson in drafting the brief.

HRC has been on the ground in North Carolina for months working toward repeal of the discriminatory HB2 law alongside Equality NC and other grassroots advocates. The state’s general assembly adjourned its short session last week after refusing to fully repeal the law, and is not scheduled to reconvene until January -- leaving tens of thousands of people at risk in the interim. Despite widespread opposition to the law, the general assembly has been unwilling even to consider repealing the worst anti-LGBTQ components of the law, including its ban on transgender people accessing restrooms consistent with their gender identity in government offices and schools and its removal of municipalities’ ability to pass LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination laws.  

In May, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit in federal court, stating that HB2’s state-mandated discrimination against transgender people, including government workers and students, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Violence Against Women Act of 2011.

Sarah McBride
Sarah McBride


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