McCrory's Executive Order Too Little Too Late for Businesses
It's clear that Gov. McCrory's executive order was nothing more than a PR stunt. Businesses still voice their disapproval and concerts, events, conventions, and job expansions continue to avoid NC. The state has lost millions of dollars and potentially thousands of jobs. The only option is the full repeal of HB2.
The governor’s Tuesday order extends new protections for state workers based on sexual orientation and gender identity. But the order leaves unchanged statewide non-discrimination rules that do not provide legal protections for gay and transgender customers in places of public business.
His order followed statewide economic fallout over the legislation. At least 13 conventionshave canceled their events in Charlotte because of HB2, and the Charlotte Regional Visitor Authority said Wednesday that it’s still too soon to tell whether McCrory’s order will have any impact on their decisions to return. But the measure may have dissuaded some who were considering Charlotte for events further in the future.
“So it shows that the damage actually lasts much longer … as bookings happen two to five years out,” said Tom Murray, CEO of the CRVA.
Charlotte’s civic leaders want welcome businesses back. They announced the launch of amessaging campaign to tout the city as a good place for business. Indianapolis had a similar campaign after that state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law last year.
Besides conventions, HB2 led to companies dropping or halting plans to expand in the state. PayPal, for example, pulled the plug on a planned operations center in Charlotte that would have employed 400.
The payments company did not return repeated requests for comment Wednesday. Last week, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman told the Observer he hoped that McCrory would repeal HB2.
More than 130 executives across the country, including the CEOs of Twitter and Marriott, signed a letter issued last month asking for the bill’s repeal.
None of those executives have asked to have their names removed from the letter since McCrory’s action Tuesday, said Matt Hirschy, director of advancement for Equality NC, one of the groups that sent the letter to McCrory.
“In fact, we’ve had companies calling us back and asking what they can do to engage further and continue in this fight,” Hirschy said.
Additional major corporations have added their signatures to the letter following McCrory’s Tuesday announcement, Hirschy said. He said those names could be announced by the end of this week.
A group of six U.S. senators, including one Republican, announced Tuesday they are asking the NBA to move its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte because of HB2. After the bill’s passage, the NBA released a statement saying it didn’t know what impact the legislation will have on its “ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game.”
“…We cannot condone nor stand idly by as North Carolina moves to legalize and institutionalize discrimination against the LGBT community,” the Tuesday letter states.
It was unclear whether the letter was drafted before McCrory’s executive action.
The NBA did not return a request for comment.
Dallas Woodhouse, the N.C. GOP executive director, said NBA “has a dozen teams in states that have similar levels of non-discrimination protections as North Carolina. Are they going to ask the NBA to move those teams as well?”