PayPal will not be expanding into North Carolina because of the state’s recently-passed “religious liberty bill,” costing the Tar Heel State an estimated 400 new jobs, the Huffington Post is reporting.
North Carolina recently passed a controversial bill, HB2, that is perceived by some observers as being discriminatory to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community. Specifically, the bill, sometimes derisively referred to as the “bathroom bill,” requires transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex at birth, rather than the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) March 31, 2016
Further, North Carolina’s controversial bill leaves out the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from its anti-discrimination laws, paving the way for discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. It also prevents cities in North Carolina from enacting their own LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws.
PayPal is having none of that.
The online payments company, which had planned to open an operations center in Charlotte and bring about 400 jobs to the state, has announced that they will build someplace else. In a blog post on PayPal’s website, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman made it clear that the decision to leave North Carolina rests solely on the fact that the state passed HB2.
“The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture. As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte. This decision reflects PayPal’s deepest values and our strong belief that every person has the right to be treated equally, and with dignity and respect. These principles of fairness, inclusion and equality are at the heart of everything we seek to achieve and stand for as a company. And they compel us to take action to oppose discrimination.”
PayPal is one of the few companies to earn a 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index, a metric that measures business’ equality standards when it comes to the LGBTQ community, according to CNN.
Several major companies, including Facebook and Apple, have publicly opposed North Carolina’s law, but PayPal is the first major company to actually scrap plans to expand in the state.
Other businesses are threatening to leave North Carolina, or have already left, over HB2. According to the Charlotte News & Observer, Lionsgate Entertainment and the A&E cable channel have said they won’t produce any films or TV shows in North Carolina. That means that A&E’s upcoming TV series SIX, which is already filming in North Carolina, is packing up and leaving.
— Colin Campbell (@RaleighReporter) April 4, 2016
Google Ventures has also announced that it won’t invest in any new companies in North Carolina until HB2 is repealed.
Across the country, states and, in some cases, cities are grappling with the effects of the changing cultural and legislative landscape when it comes to LGBTQ issues. Georgia, for example, recently came close to passing a religious liberty bill that would have allowed clergy and businesses to refuse to provide certain services to LGBTQ individuals. That bill was staunchly opposed by business groups and even the National Football League (NFL), which threatened to deny Atlanta the chance to host a Super Bowl should the bill pass (it did not). Similarly, Missouri is also considering such a bill, according to this Inquisitr report, which is also generating heated opposition from the sports industry.
PayPal has said that it will continue to advocate for North Carolina’s HB2 to be overturned.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]