A move by lawmakers in the state of North Carolina, which overturned a Charlotte ordinance that allowed individuals who claimed to be transgendered to use public rest rooms and shower facilities of their choosing, has drawn criticism from dozens of major corporations.
The City Council in February ordered that all public buildings, including schools, must permit persons to legally access rest rooms matching their gender “identity,” regardless of their biological sex. Even more tyrannical, the government decreed that all private businesses must make the same accommodations. As a result, the North Carolina General Assembly called a special session to pre-empt the April 1 implementation of the Charlotte ordinance, while at the same time allowing for businesses and local agencies to determine their own policies free and independent from the diktat.
“Council members decided to trample on the rule of law and the privacy rights of the vast majority of citizens,” wrote co-sponsoring state Representatives Dan Bishop and Chris Millis in a commentary for The Daily Caller.
The lawmakers’ action to nullify Charlotte’s plans and establish statewide standards that protect privacy drew an expected backlash from the Left, both locally and nationwide. But the outcry extended to a collection of corporations and professional sports teams, who weighed in against common-sense safety and in support of throwing open gender-specific bathroom facilities to whatever identity you feel like on a given day.
Dozens of company CEOs signed a message to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory – on letterhead with the logos of the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina, a gay rights group – lecturing the state about its legislation. Among the signatories were top executives at American Airlines, Apple, Bank of America, Citibank, Google, Intel, Hilton, Marriott, Microsoft, Pfizer, and Starbucks. Many other widely recognized, publicly traded companies were represented as well.
“House Bill 2…has overturned protections for LGBT people and sanctioned discrimination across North Carolina,” the letter from the CEOs said. “Put simply, HB 2 is not a bill that reflects the values of our companies, of our country, or even the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians. We are disappointed in your decision to sign this discriminatory legislation into law.”
As written, the Charlotte ordinance granted perverts the gaping legal loophole to claim to be “transgendered” if they were caught revealing their private parts to children in a restroom or locker room designated for the opposite sex. Far from discriminatory, North Carolina lawmakers and the governor moved to make such facilities consistently safer across the state in government buildings. With regard to businesses – including the many companies that alleged “discrimination” against the state – they retained the freedom to designate restroom policies as they see fit. That didn’t stop some of the major corporations from distorting the language of law and engaging in demagoguery.
“Our future as Americans should be focused on inclusion and prosperity, and not discrimination and division,” said Apple Inc. in a statement. “We were disappointed to see Governor McCrory sign this legislation.”
The iCompany’s moral boldness would be more credible if it hadn’t scored up to $58 million in corporate welfare from the state of North Carolina, all so its computer servers could slurp Duke Energy electricity while creating minimal jobs. Apple has already exhibited its fraudulent ethical superiority with its frequent boasting about “100-percent green” data centers, all while humming along on coal, natural gas and nuclear power as Duke’s other customers pay higher rates for so-called renewable electricity. So it would be truly inspiring if CEO Tim Cook (pictured), who is gay, stood on principle and vacated the server farm in western North Carolina, shut down all its Apple stores, and halted availability of all its products for sale online and with retailers there.
“It’s hard to take seriously these corporations claims to favor ‘equality’ under the law when they are so quick to lobby for special treatment from government to gain a competitive edge,” wrote Brian Balfour of the Raleigh-based Civitas Institute. “If they truly favored equal treatment, they would seek for all businesses to be treated the same. Instead, they favor highly unequal treatment when it comes to taxes and subsidies – to favor themselves of course.”
Three years ago NLPC president Peter Flaherty pointed out the foolishness of corporate involvement in divisive issues, especially social ones, when their customer base and their shareholders consist of people who hold a wide variety of beliefs and values. The current controversy over the Charlotte ordinance is reminiscent of when Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told a shareholder to sell his stock if he disagreed with the company’s embrace of gay marriage. The corporate critics of the new North Carolina law are essentially inviting a large segment of the population – and 69 percent of North Carolinians – to stop doing business with them.
There are other options, of course, to the major corporations.
“The vast majority of tax returns in the state of North Carolina are LLCs and S-corps, only going to prove that our thriving economy is built on the backbones of hardworking small business owners in North Carolina,” said Kami Mueller of the #KeepNCSafeCoalition. “We don’t need the values of outsiders dictating how we conduct business as a state.”
Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center and publishes CarolinaPlottHound.com, an aggregator of North Carolina news.