CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The political sideshow that has followed the passage of North Carolina House Bill 2 continue in Raleigh last week.
Activists headed to the governor’s office are hoping for a face-to-face meeting. They delivered a letter signed by nearly 100 CEOs, urging repeal of the law, which mandates that transgender men and women use public bathrooms based on their biological sex rather than the gender with which they identify.
Among those signing that letter are the CEOs of Bank of America and Wells Fargo, two of Charlotte’s biggest employers.
“In our meeting with Governor McCrory, we made crystal clear that HB 2 is discriminatory, shameful, and needs to be repealed immediately,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “We also called on him to continue to meet with LGBT North Carolinians in the days and weeks prior to April’s legislative session. The question Governor McCrory faces is a simple one: will he seize this opportunity to show true leadership, or will he allow North Carolina to remain on the wrong side of history? This law is doing extraordinary damage to the state’s economic prospects, its reputation, and most importantly, it’s LGBT community. The nation is waiting and watching to see which path he will take.”
"There’s no doubt there is a well-coordinated, national campaign to smear our state’s reputation after we passed a common-sense law to ensure no government can take away our basic expectations of privacy in bathrooms, locker rooms and showers,” said Josh Ellis, Communications Director for Governor McCrory. “Governor McCrory appreciated the opportunity to sit down and deal with these complex issues through conversation and dialogue as opposed to political threats and economic retaliation.”
“This bill has put the Old North State’s ability to recruit, retain and attract the best talent and business in real jeopardy,” said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC.
In Charlotte, some agree.
At the Charlotte Employers Association Kenny Colbert said he’s already heard from hiring managers.
“It’s probably not going to be an everyday issue, but it’s something that’s going to come up on occasion and companies need to be prepared to deal with it,” Colbert said.
Because opinions are so strong on both sides of House Bill 2, the issue remains sensitive.
Two local companies who had agreed to talk with Eyewitness News about their concerns over recruiting in the midst of negative national publicity for NC both canceled at the last minute.
Colbert said companies are admitting privately that recruiting for some jobs in some sectors could get tougher.
“They’re just very nervous,” Colbert said. “They don’t know what’s going to happen, but their perception is that this whole thing in North Carolina could hurt their recruiting efforts with people saying, ‘I don’t want to move to North Carolina from a more progressive state.’”
Colbert said companies are already preparing.
“Smart companies are going to redirect all this back to their company. They’ll say, ‘Let me show you the record of our company. Let me show you our policies. Let me show you how we treat our people,” he said.
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