Critics of North Carolina’s HB2, which struck down discrimination protections for LGBT residents, are demanding the governor’s office release proof that he has heard from businesses that are applauding the controversial measure.
That call came during a Wednesday press conference at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, where Mayor Jennifer Roberts and LGBT advocacy groups noted the list of national companies condemning the law is growing by the day.
Charlotte-based Bank of America became the latest big name to join that list, sending out a message Tuesday asking Gov. Pat McCrory and the state General Assembly to repeal the law.
HB2 was passed in a special session last week in response to a Charlotte city ordinance offered discrimination protection to LGBT residents, including the right for transgender men and women to use the restroom of their gender identity.
Ricky Diaz, a spokesman for McCrory’s re-election campaign, has said “much of the feedback we’ve been getting from businesses since the bill’s passage has been positive, with many agreeing with the governor that they wish the Charlotte City Council didn’t pass the ordinance making this an issue in the first place.”
Emails and phone calls seeking a response from the governor’s office were not returned Wednesday.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said Tuesday at the press conference he wants the governor to release that list of businesses supporting HB2. “Let us know what CEOs he’s heard from that think this legislation is good for their business, good for their employees, good for their customers, good for the rest of the community and the state.”
KeepNCSafe posted a message on its website saying 334 North Carolina business owners have signed a letter thanking the governor. It listed some of the businesses but said many preferred to remain anonymous due to “vocal threats and bullying from the LGBT community.”
Among the businesses initially on the list was HanesBrands. However, Hanes told the Greensboro News & Record Tuesday it had not taken a stand on HB2 and asked that it be removed from any list of supporters. At least one other company was removed from the list “due to an error,” KeepNCSafe reported on its website.
HRC and Equality NC released a letter Tuesday from more than 80 leading CEOs and business leaders calling on McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal HB2. Chris Sgro of Equality NC said the list resulted from business leaders who called HRC or Equality NC asking how they could take a stand on the matter.
The law also inspired a federal lawsuit filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union, two transgender people and a lesbian law professor at N.C. Central University. The suit challenging the law, which bans local governments from passing local anti-discrimination ordinances and dictates that transgender residents use the public restrooms of their biological sex unless they have their birth certificates changed.
HRC and Equality NC officials said they hoped to meet with McCrory Thursday with an offer to help find a solution that includes protecting LGBT people in public accommodations and employment. However, it was unclear if McCrory would agree to the meeting.