SAN FRANCISCO — Google, Apple, Microsoft and other tech companies are protesting a sweeping anti-LGBT law passed by North Carolina, a state that’s courted technology and biotech companies.
North Carolina legislators on Wednesday approved House Bill 2, which prevents cities and counties from passing their own rules preventing discrimination of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill into law on Wednesday.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Microsoft President Brad Smith and others in the tech industry, in tweets, say HB 2 deepens discrimination.
“More than ever, now is the time to be an #LGBTQAlly and stand up for nondiscrimination. Join me,” Krzanich said in a tweet Thursday night.
Google called the law “misguided and wrong” in a tweet.
“We are disappointed by the passage of HB2 in the North Carolina General Assembly because this measure will reduce, rather than expand, the scope of anti-discrimination protection in the state,” IBM said in a statement.
The state — a hotbed for technology research and banking — is coming under increasing pressure over the law, which also prevents municipalities from passing ordinances to allow people to use bathrooms that don’t correspond to their birth sex, a change sought by transgender advocates.
National companies speak out
A host of other companies and sports teams, including the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and director Rob Reiner (This Is Spinal Tap, Misery), also spoke out against the new law.
American Airlines has long been a pioneer in its fair-minded policies and practices for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers and employees, said spokeswoman Laura Nedbal.
“We believe no individual should be discriminated against because of gender identity or sexual orientation. Laws that allow such discrimination go against our fundamental belief of equality and are bad for the economies of the states in which they are enacted.”
Lowe’s Home Improvement, based in Mooresville, N.C., said “We welcome all people to our stores. Lowe’s opposes any measure in any state that would encourage or allow discrimination.”
On Friday, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee issued a directive barring any publicly-funded City employee travel to the State of North Carolina that is not absolutely essential to public health and safety.
The mounting backlash in North Carolina mirrors a similar movement in Georgia, after the legislature there passed, and the governor considers, a new law that detractors say legalizes discrimination against gays in the name of religion. Supporters say the bill promotes “religious liberty.”
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, Disney/ABC, Coca-Cola, the Atlanta Falcons and the NFL have also opposed the bill in Georgia.
Contributing: Elizabeth Weise, Marco Della Cava and Jessica Guynn in San Francisco. Follow USA TODAY San Francisco Bureau Chief @jswartz
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Google, Apple, Facebook, others oppose NC law – USA TODAY
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