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USA: Companies mobilise against state laws that permit & protect discrimination against LGBT people

In two southern US states, companies have contributed to blocking one bill that would have explicitly permitted discrimination against LGBT people (in Georgia), and are protesting another new law that has been passed prohibiting local (city) anti-discrimination ordinances (in No. Carolina).  Media coverage relating to the bills and the action by companies against them are below.

Corporate Pressure Forces Georgia Governor to Veto Anti-LGBT Law, Frank Kineavy, DIversityInc, 28 Mar 2016
[refers to Walt Disney, Marvel (part of Walt Disney), Time Warner, CNN (part of Time Warner), Verizon, IBM, Marriott, NBA, NFL, NCAA]

Marvel Studios, Disney, Viacom And AMC Join Protest Over Georgia’s Religious Liberty Bill, Vishakha Sonawane, Intl. Business Times

Corporations threaten boycott over Georgia, North Carolina legislation seen as “anti gay”, CNN Wire Service
[refers to PayPal, Bank of America, Dow Chemical, NBA]

Bank of America, Microsoft Denounce North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law, but Fund Politicians Who Passed It, The Intercept
[refers to Bank of America, Microsoft, Lowe’s, American Airlines]

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13 April 2016

USA: PayPal cancels North Carolina expansion plan due to anti-gay law that violates company policies

Author: Jon Swartz and Elizabeth Weise, USA Today

"PayPal withdraws planned N.C. expansion due to anti-gay law", 6 Apr 2016

PayPal is canceling its planned $3.6 million North Carolina operations center due to the state's new law preventing cities from banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, just two weeks after it announced the investment...On Tuesday, PayPal CEO and president Dan Schulman announced the electronic payment company was withdrawing its plans to build the center because, he said, the new law perpetuates discrimination and violates the values and principles at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture. Locating in a state "where members of our teams will not have equal rights under the law, is simply untenable," Schulman said...PayPal, which has no presence in the state, is the second company to take its business from North Carolina due to the new law...[Also refers to Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, Lionsgate]

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31 March 2016

USA: Company CEOs submit open letter to North Carolina legislature demanding repeal of discriminatory LGBT bill

Author: Diversity Inc. (USA)

"TD Bank, Hilton, Accenture, Kellogg's and Others Demand North Carolina Repeal Radical New Anti-LGBT Law"

...[E]xecutives from [a number of American companies] have signed onto an open letter that now includes more than 100 leading CEOs and business leaders calling on Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal the radical provisions in the deeply discriminatory House Bill 2 that was rammed through the legislature last week...he letter — signed by dozens of CEOs from across the nation — was made public Tuesday afternoon, and came only a day after Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced he would veto anti-LGBT legislation in Georgia after facing a sustained outcry from a broad chorus of advocates and companies...North Carolina has the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first state in the country to enact a law attacking transgender students, even after similar proposals were rejected across the country this year — including a high-profile veto by the Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota.

[Refers to companies including Airbnb, American Airlines, Apple, Bank of America, Barnes & Noble, Citibank, Cisco Systems, Dropbox, eBay, Facebook, Glassdoor, Google, Hilton, IBM Corporation, Intel, Levi Strauss & Co., LinkedIn, Lyft, Marriott International, Microsoft, PayPal, Pfizer Inc., Pinterest, Reddit, Salesforce, Starbucks, Tumblr, Twitter, Uber, Yelp, YouTube]

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28 March 2016

Georgia Governor Vetoes Discriminatory Bill Allowing Discrimination Against LGBT people

Author: Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

"Following Backlash From Across the Country, Georgia Gov. Will Veto Discriminatory Anti-LGBT Bill"

Following weeks of pressure from the Human Rights Campaign and Georgia Equality, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal will veto H.B. 757, a deeply discriminatory bill that passed the state legislature...The legislation, which sparked a massive backlash of opposition from a broad array of civil rights groups and leaders in Hollywood and corporate America, would have weakened local non-discrimination protections, allowed businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBT people, and explicitly empowered discrimination by taxpayer-funded religious organizations...Deal’s veto comes one week after HRC President Chad Griffin called on Hollywood to stop productions in Georgia if Deal refused to veto the legislation at HRC’s Los Angeles Gala...According to the State of Georgia, which offers major tax incentives for entertainment companies to film in the state, at least 248 film and television productions were shot in Georgia...result[ing] in at least $1.7 billion in direct spending as well as more than 100 new businesses relocating to or expanding in Georgia to support these activities.

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28 March 2016

Hollywood production companies increase pressure on state to block discriminatory LGBT bill

Author: Daniel Miller and Libby Hill, LA Times (USA)

"Hollywood reacts to Georgia governor's veto of anti-gay bill"

Walt Disney Co. and other organizations praised Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's decision Monday to veto controversial legislation that looked to expand individuals' and business' rights to deny services to those whose way of life conflicts with their religious beliefs...Georgia, far from the only front where the battle between “religious freedom” and gay rights is being waged, is the latest state to reach a resolution on the matter...The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT civil rights advocacy group, said Monday that Deal “set an example for other elected officials to follow” by vetoing the measure...The stakes were high for Georgia...Since lawmakers March 16 approved the bill perceived as anti-gay, many influential companies had come out against the legislation...Last week, Disney, the world's largest entertainment firm, said it would stop making films in the state if Deal, a two-term Republican governor, signed the Free Exercise Protection Act into law.

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24 March 2016

USA: North Carolina Gay Bias Law Draws a Sharp Backlash

Author: Motoko Rich, The New York Times (USA)

A day after Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina signed a sweeping law eliminating anti-discrimination protections for all lesbians, gays and bisexuals and barring transgender people from using bathrooms that do not match the gender they were born with....[C]ivil rights groups, businesses and politicians expressed dismay at the law...American Airlines...along with other companies with operations in the state, including Apple, Dow Chemical, PayPal, Red Hat and Biogen, all issued statements critical of the new law...“Our future as Americans should be focused on inclusion and prosperity, and not discrimination and division,” Apple said in a statement. “We were disappointed to see Governor McCrory sign this legislation”....

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23 March 2016

USA: NC Governor Signs Radical Bill Into Law Attacking Trans Students & Overturning LGBT Protections

Author: Stephen Peters, Human Rights Campaign (USA)

....North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory...[signed] into law an outrageous and unprecedented anti-LGBT bill...[that] eliminates existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people; prevents such provisions from being passed by cities in the future; and forces transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity...Discrimination is a persistent problem for the LGBT community in North Carolina...The National Center for Transgender Equality and the National LGBTQ Task Force reported that in a survey of transgender people living in North Carolina, half of respondents had been harassed or discriminated against in public places like hotels, restrooms, restaurants and other public services....North Carolina is now the first state in the country to enact such a law attacking transgender students, even after several similar proposals were rejected across the country this year...

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