Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce Asks Businesses to Stand Against North Carolina’s Discrimination Bill

Published Tuesday, August 16, 2016
by CHARLOTTE LGBT Chamber OF COMMERCE

Charlotte, NC – The Charlotte Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Chamber of Commerce (CLGBTCC) condemns the discriminatory legislation, House Bill 2 (HB2), signed by Governor McCrory. This law which prevents all local government from protecting its citizens from discrimination in hiring, firing and public accommodation has started a chain reaction of sanctioned discrimination and moving money out of North Carolina.

“This law is bad for business, it’s bad for growing Charlotte’s economy and it’s ultimately bad for anyone living in North Carolina,” said CLGBTCC President Melissa Morris. “This bill does more than allow for LGBT discrimination with no statewide remedy for recourse, it strips existing protected classes like veterans and the disabled, of anti-discrimination protections. It is unethical for our state government to void the voices of local elected officials who vote on the rights of their constituents.”

Beyond harming LGBT individuals throughout the state, HB2 prevents local municipalities from regulating minimum wage and ensuring diversity in contract bids with local government. Without diversity regulations for minority bids by local government, small and minority owned businesses will lose out. Ann Gonzales, CLGBTCC Vice President and minority business owner states, “As a co-owner of a business that is 100% LGBT, Asian/Latin American, and women-owned operated, diversity inclusion is extremely important to us. When bidding on contracts, we greatly rely on company and government entities to have supplier diversity programs in place or some form of minority acceptance. Such programs help to ensure there is more of a level playing field when it comes to bidding on projects without segregating to a certain focus group. In addition, supplier diversity programs help to enhance workplace company culture. It’s sound business practice to promote your company as an inclusive entity that not only hires but does business with an array of demographics.”

Within two days of the signing of this harmful bill, North Carolina has already come under fire from its largest economic contributors and stands to lose millions of dollars in national bids and tourism. Corporations and banking giants such as American Airlines, Paypal, Google, Bank of America and numerous others have already posted statements of disappointment with the passage of such a discriminatory law. At the same time, National sporting leagues and San Francisco’s Mayor have threatened to boycott any dealings with the state.

NBA representatives stated “We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte.” While San Francisco’s mayor Ed Lee has gone further in his condemnation of this new law and stated, “Effective immediately, I am directing City Departments under my authority to bar any publicly-funded City employee travel to the State of North Carolina that is not absolutely essential to public health and safety.”

This trend of corporate frustration will continue to grow and will stop economic growth while jeopardizing employee recruitment and retention throughout North Carolina. As noted by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), “Stakeholders want to do business in states that value all people and recognize that a fully engaged workforce and supply chain is one where all citizens can bring their whole selves to their business every day free from fear of discrimination. We all must do our part to ensure the safety of all North Carolinians and secure our place as one of America’s fastest growing cities.

As a voice for business and entrepreneurship in the LGBT community throughout Charlotte, the CLGBTCC stands with our corporate and small business leaders throughout North Carolina and ask that all businesses, large and small, not only speak out publicly against this harmful bill, but use your strength to encourage legislators to repeal HB2.