Friday, March 25, 2016

NC's New Anti-Gay Law Draws Industry Protests

N.C.'s visionary Research Triangle Park: Will we hear from its tenants?
North Carolina's draconian, incomprehensible "bathroom" bill," which blatantly discriminates against LGBT and gay people is beginning to get some blow-back and the protests represent powerful stuff. Major corporations with strong presence in my home state are speaking out against the law and my guess is that anybody considering building a new factory in North Carolina has stopped in mid-sentence to see how this plays out. (Story here.)

Republicans have traditionally kowtowed to corporate America.


As many of you know, North Carolina, like Kansas and Louisiana, has become an showcase of what far right Republican rule means and it is not pretty on its best days. It most often means a state budget in shambles, threats to the survival of the state's educational system, individual rights smashed and a totalitarian mindset in the executive mansion. North Carolina is a state that has been politically purchased by a man named Art Pope (Koch Lite), who basically appointed his man as governor and who owns the General Assembly.

North Carolina prides itself on being a basketball-loving state (North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Davidson, etc., among college, the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA), but this law has pissed off both the NBA and the NCAA, both of which are hinting that major future events scheduled in North Carolina could easily be placed elsewhere.

I would not be surprised if the NFL--Carolina Panthers--had a word to say shortly.

Will N.C. lose NCAA tournament?
An NCAA spokesman is quoted as saying, “We’ll continue to monitor current events, which include issues surrounding diversity, in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites. Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values. It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events.”

Big organizations don't generally begin criticisms--written criticisms--with "Those stupid bumpkins ..." It is more subtle than that. It can mean moving to friendlier states, cancelling huge events, killing jobs. And that could mean political upheaval. Republicans, for all they lack between the ears, are very well aware that they can lose their jobs.

The Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill triangle is one of the best known research areas in the United States and the well-educated people attracted to employment there will be strongly opposed to this law and all it implies about attitudes in North Carolina. We will hear from some of the companies based there shortly.

Here are some of the companies already quietly raising hell about the new law:

Dow
Biogen
Apple
IBM
NCAA
NBA
PayPal
American Airlines
Google
Bayer
SalesFlorce
Facebook

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