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Tech giants join rebuke of NC law blocking LGBT rights – Columbia Daily Tribune


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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Technology giants Apple, Google and Facebook are among a dozen big companies or their top executives objecting to a North Carolina law that bars municipalities from adopting their own anti-discrimination ordinances.

Facebook, Google and Apple each run massive data-processing complexes in western North Carolina. They joined American Airlines, IBM and other corporations in reacting to a state law quickly adopted Wednesday that blocked local government measures to counter discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people.

None of the high-profile companies have threatened to immediately withdraw business from North Carolina.

San Francisco’s mayor on Friday banned city workers from nonessential travel to North Carolina. The city, which has a large gay and lesbian population, “will not subsidize legally sanctioned discrimination,” Mayor Ed Lee said.

The Charlotte, N.C., ordinance that is the target of the state law would have enabled transgender people to legally use restrooms aligned with their gender identity and would have provided broad protections against discrimination in public accommodations in the state’s largest city.

North Carolina is the first state to require public school and university students to use only those bathrooms that match their birth certificates, the National Conference on State Legislatures said.

Advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights say state legislators demonized them with bogus claims about bathroom risks. Supporters say the new law protects people from having to share bathrooms with people who make them feel unsafe.

Corporations announcing their displeasure “are shamefully bullying” state officials while many small-business owners who live in North Carolina support the new legislation, North Carolina Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald said.

“North Carolinians should be aware of this so they have the opportunities to be consumers of companies that are congruent with their values,” Fitzgerald said.

Other businesses have voiced support for the measure Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law, a spokesman for his re-election campaign said. Spokesman Ricky Diaz did not respond when asked which businesses backed the governor’s decision.

Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat challenging McCrory this fall, opposes the law. He said Friday he is worried actions by the GOP-led legislature and the governor could harm the state’s chances to attract or retain sporting events such as the NCAA basketball tournament and the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte in 2017. Both organizations released statements about the law on Thursday but stopped short of saying they would not hold the events in the city.

“Not only is it wrong to discriminate, but we should not be putting our economy in jeopardy,” Cooper told 99.9 The Fan, a Raleigh-area radio station, calling the law “a national embarrassment.”

© 2016 Columbia Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Saturday, March 26, 2016 12:00 am.

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