Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Equality NC announced that executives from 23andMe, Instacart, The Honest Company, United Guaranty Corporation, Cabot Creamery, Castlight Health, Inc., Willis Towers Watson, Merck, IKEA US, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc., AIG, Yadkin Bank and Direct Marketing Association have signed onto an open letter that now includes nearly 200 leading CEOs and business leaders urging North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the state’s General Assembly to repeal the deeply discriminatory HB 2.
Additionally, as part of its “Voices of North Carolina” video series, HRC released a new video of transgender North Carolinian Tina Madison White. White speaks movingly about how the state’s passage of the discriminatory law has threatened both her personal safety and love for the state she calls home. White says the bill “took me back to a world I thought I’d left behind,” recounting a terrifying nightmare she had the night Governor McCrory signed the bill into law. A former business executive, White goes on to say the state’s motto “First in Flight,” which marks the Wright Brothers’ first flight in North Carolina’s skies, could come to symbolise the mass exodus of fair-minded businesses and individuals from the Tar Heel State if HB 2 is not repealed.
“It would be tragic if businesses and families decided that this was not a state that represented an open and welcoming society,” White said.
A copy of the updated business letter which now includes nearly 200 major CEOs and business leaders calling for repeal of HB 2, can be found here and below. The letter was first made public on March 29.
The momentum to repeal HB 2 comes as Gov. McCrory, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, and House Speaker Tim Moore continue to dig in and defend their discriminatory law. Recently, Senator Berger sent a desperate and misleading letter to corporate leaders doubling down in his defence of HB 2. HRC took the liberty of redlining in the truth and publishing that letter here.
“Discrimination is bad for North Carolina, bad for America, and bad for business,” said HRC President Chad Griffin in announcing the letter. “These business leaders are speaking out because they know this attack on lesbian, gay, bisexual and especially transgender North Carolinians isn’t just morally wrong — it also puts their employees, customers and North Carolina’s economy at risk. For the sake of all North Carolinians, Governor McCrory and the General Assembly must act now to repeal this heinous attack on fairness and equality.”
“North Carolina’s place as a business leader in the South is based on fairness, inclusion, and diversity,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro with the original launch of the open letter. “HB 2 does not represent North Carolina values, and it weakens our competitive edge. We are glad to see our business community in the Old North State standing up against discriminatory measures like this. Governor McCrory made a mess of our state last [month], and our businesses are leading the charge to repair our state to a place of fairness.”
HRC has also invoked the North Carolina Public Records Law to gain access to any communications the Governor, the Executive Branch, or the General Assembly had among each other or with the kind of extreme anti-LGBT special interest groups who often craft and push the kind of language included in HB 2. Specifically, the organisation is demanding that the government release any communications legislators or the Governor or his staff have had with the North Carolina Values Coalition or the Alliance Defending Freedom from the office of Gov. McCrory, Senate President Pro Tem Berger and Speaker Moore about HB 2.
Gov. McCrory and state lawmakers are under increasingly intense pressure to repeal the discriminatory HB 2 in the current legislative session. Mayors and governors across the country are banning travel to the state, musicians are cancelling concerts, and the New York Times editorial board called North Carolina a “pioneer in bigotry.” Major film studios and corporations, from PayPal to Deutsche Bank, have stopped investments in the state because of the new law. The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office has even warned its LGBT citizens of the risks of traveling to North Carolina.
HB 2 has eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. In addition, the legislation prevents transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. It also compels the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in publicly-owned buildings, including in public universities, major airports, and convention centres. Further, HB 2 revokes the ability to sue under state employment non-discrimination law on the basis of any protected characteristic, including race, religion, national origin, and sex. Lawmakers passed the legislation in a hurried, single-day session, and Governor McCrory quickly signed it into law in the dead of night. The discriminatory law is already facing a legal challenge, and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said he will refuse to defend it in court.
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. North Carolina school districts that comply with the law will now be in direct violation of Title IX, subjecting the school districts to massive liability and putting an estimated $4.5 billion of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as funding received by schools from other federal agencies, at risk. This section of HB 2 offers costly supposed solutions to non-existent problems, and it forces schools to choose between complying with federal law — plus doing the right thing for their students — or complying with a state law that violates students’ civil rights. Read more about how this bill puts federal funding at risk here.
While the governor’s recent executive order extends protections to some state workers, it does nothing to fix the vile and discriminatory provisions he signed into law through HB 2. Under HB 2, transgender people are prohibited from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity in public buildings, including the University of North Carolina campus and the Raleigh-Durham Airport. Cities still cannot adopt ordinances to prohibit discrimination against their residents and visitors. And HB 2 still prevents individuals from bringing discrimination suit in state courts.
The full letter to Governor McCrory and list of signatories is below:
Dear Governor McCrory,
We write with concerns about legislation you signed into law last week, HB 2, which has overturned protections for LGBT people and sanctioned discrimination across North Carolina. 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. The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business. This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development. We believe that HB 2 will make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation’s best and brightest workers and attract the most talented students from across the nation. It will also diminish the state’s draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses, and economic activity.
Discrimination is wrong and we believe it has no place in North Carolina or anywhere in our country. As companies that pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, we strongly urge you and the leadership of North Carolina’s legislature to repeal this law in the upcoming legislative session.
Laura Alber, President and Chief Executive Officer, Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
Rick Anicetti, President and CEO of The Fresh Market
Karen Appleton, Senior Vice President, Box
James Avery, CEO, Adzerk
Brandee Barker, Cofounder, The Pramana Collective
Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce
Thomas J. Benton, CEO, Direct Marketing Association
Chip Bergh, President and CEO, Levi Strauss & Co.
Michael Birch, Founder, Blab
Ed Black, President and CEO, Computer & Communications Industry Association
Paul Black, CEO, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc.
Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Goldman Sachs Group
Nathan Blecharczyk, Cofounder and CTO, Airbnb
Neil Blumenthal, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Warby Parker
Steven R. Boal, CEO, Quotient Technology Inc.
Alex Boden, General Manager, Plum Organics
Ron Boire, CEO, Barnes and Noble
Lorna Borenstein, CEO, Grokker
Brad Brinegar, Chairman and CEO, McKinney
Michael Bronner, President, Dr. Bronner’s
Craig Bromley, President, John Hancock Financial
John Bryant, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kellogg Company
Ursula Burns, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Xerox Corporation
Wes Bush, Chairman, CEO and President of Northrop Grumman
Mandy Cabot, Co-Founder & CEO, Dansko
Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, co-CEOs, Atlassian
Lloyd Carney, CEO, Brocade Communications Systems, Inc.
Marc Casper, President and CEO, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.
Safra Catz, CEO, Oracle
Brian Chesky, CEO, Airbnb
Emanuel Chirico, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PVH Corp.
Giovanni Colella, CEO, Castlight Health, Inc.
Wendy Collie, CEO, New Seasons Market
Ron Conway, Founder and Co-Managing Partner, SV Angel
Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
Roger W. Crandall, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
Scott Custer, Chief Executive Officer, Yadkin Bank
Paul T. Dacier, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, EMC Corporation
Bracken P. Darrell, CEO, Logitech
Dean Debnam, Chairman and CEO, Workplace Options
Mike DeFrino, Chief Executive Officer, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
Donna DeMaio, President and CEO, United Guaranty Corporation
Bill Demchak, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
Chad Dickerson, CEO, Etsy
Alex Dimitrief, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, GE
Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square and Twitter
Lynne Doughtie, Chairman and CEO, KPMG LLP
Sandy Douglas, Executive Vice President & President, Coca-Cola North America, The Coca-Cola Company
Martin Eakes, CEO, Self-Help
David Ebersman, Cofounder and CEO, Lyra Health
Randy Fiser, CEO, American Society of Interior Designers
Blair Fleming, Head, RBC Capital Markets, U.S.
Jared Fliesler, General Partner, Matrix Partners
Vince Forlenza, Chairman, CEO and President, BD
Kenneth C. Frazier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Merck
Mark Gainey, CEO, Strava Inc.
Christopher Gavigan, Co-Founder/Chief Products Officer, The Honest Company
Joe Gebbia, Cofounder and Chief Product Officer, Airbnb
Dave Gilboa, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Warby Parker
Jason Goldberg, CEO, Pepo
John J. Haley, CEO, Willis Towers Watson
Kristen Koh Goldstein, CEO, BackOps
Mitchell Gold, co-founder and chair-man, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
John H. Graham IV, President and CEO, American Society of Association Executives
Peter T. Grauer, Chairman, Bloomberg L.P.
Logan Green, CEO, Lyft
Mike Gregoire, CEO, CA Technologies
Paul Graham, Founder, Y Combinator
Peter D. Hancock, President & Chief Executive Officer, AIG
David Hassell, CEO, 15Five
Charles H. Hill III, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources, Pfizer Inc.
Dick Hodgin, Co-Owner and Chief Engineer, Osceola Music Inc.
Reid Hoffman, Chairman, LinkedIn
Robert Hohman, Cofounder & CEO, Glassdoor
Lane S. Hopkins, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Capital One Financial Corporation
Mark Hoplamazian, President and CEO, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Drew Houston, CEO, Dropbox
Stephen R. Howe, Jr., U.S. Chairman and Managing Partner, Americas Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP
William H. Howle, President of U.S. Retail Banking Group, Citibank
Steve Huffman, CEO, Reddit
Chad Hurley, Cofounder, YouTube
Dave Imre, Partner and CEO, IMRE
Dev Ittycheria, President & CEO, MongoDB
Richard Jenrette, Founder, Classical American Homes Preservation Trust
Laurene Powell Jobs, President, Emerson Collective
Michael O. Johnson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Herbalife
Kim Jordan, Founder & Executive Chair, New Belgium Brewing
Cecily Joseph, VP Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer, Symantec Corporation
Steve Joyce, CEO, Choice Hotels International
Travis Kalanick, CEO, Uber
David Karp, Founder and CEO, Tumblr
Travis Katz, Founder and CEO, Gogobot
Fred Keller, Founder & Chairman, Cascade Engineering
Alan King, President and COO, Workplace Options
Dave King, CEO, LabCorp.
Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Alcoa Inc.
David Kohler, President & CEO, Kohler Co.
Brian Krzanich, CEO, Intel
Joshua Kushner, Managing Partner, Thrive Capital
Michael W. Lamach, Chairman and CEO, Ingersoll-Rand plc
Stefan Larsson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Lauren Corporation
William P. Lauder, Executive Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
Ralph Lauren, Executive Chair and Chief Creative Officer, Ralph Lauren Corporation
Jeff Lawson, Founder, CEO and Chairman, Twilio
Matthew Lepore, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, BASF Corporation
Max Levchin, CEO, Affirm
Dion Lim, CEO, NextLesson
Frank Longobardi, CEO, CohnReznick LLP
Shan-lyn Ma, CEO, Zola
Elie Maalouf, Chief Executive Officer, The Americas, InterContinental Hotels Group
Vishal Makhijani, COO, Udacity
Tom Mangas, CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
Rose Marcario, CEO, Patagonia
Rob Marcus, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable
Bill Maris, CEO, Google Ventures
Marissa Mayer, President and CEO, Yahoo
Melody McCloskey, CEO, StyleSeat
F. William McNabb III, Chairman & CEO, Vanguard
Apoorva Mehta, Founder and CEO, Instacart
Douglas Merrill, CEO, Zestfinance
Dyke Messinger, President and CEO, Power Curbers Inc.
Chris Meyrick, Chief Diversity Officer, American Express Company
Steve Mollenkopf, CEO, Qualcomm Inc.
Bob Moritz, US Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC
Denise Morrison, President and Chief Executive Officer, Campbell Soup Company
Brian Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America
Oscar Munoz, President and CEO, United Airlines
Hari Nair, Vice President and General Manager, Orbitz.com & CheapTickets.com
Christopher J. Nassetta, President & Chief Executive Officer, Hilton Worldwide
Michael Natenshon, CEO, Marine Layer
Alexi G. Nazem, Cofounder and CEO, Nomad Health
Alexis Ohanian, Cofounder, Reddit
Laurie J. Olson, EVP, Strategy, Portfolio and Commercial Operations, Pfizer Inc.
Bob Page, Founder and CEO, Replacements, Ltd.
Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO, American Airlines
Mark Pearson, CEO, AXA Financial Inc.
Mike Pedersen, CEO and President, TD Bank, N.A.
Michelle Peluso, Strategic Advisor and former CEO, Gilt
Christine Perich, CEO, New Belgium Brewing
Lars Petersson, President, IKEA US
Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google
Mark Pincus, Founder and Executive Chairman, Zynga
Mary Powell, CEO, Green Mountain Power
Hosain Rahman, CEO, Jawbone
Michael Rapino, CEO & President of Live Nation Entertainment
Bill Ready, CEO, Braintree
Evan Reece, CEO, Liftopia
Stan Reiss, General Partner, Matrix Partners
John Replogle, CEO, Seventh Generation
Walter Robb, co-CEO, Whole Foods Market
Chuck Robbins, CEO, Cisco Systems
Virginia M. Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO, IBM Corporation
Dan Rosensweig, CEO, Chegg
Patricia Rossman, Chief Diversity Officer and HR Communications, BASF Corporation
Kevin P. Ryan, Founder and Chairman, Alleycorp
Bijan Sabet, General Partner, Spark Capital
Brian Samelson, CEO & President, eMaint Enterprises, LLC
Julie Samuels, President, Engine
George A. Scangos, PhD, CEO, Biogen
Charles W. Scharf, Chief Executive Officer, Visa Inc.
Paula Schneider, CEO, American Apparel
Steve Schoch, CEO, Miramax
Dan Schulman, President and CEO, PayPal
Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO, Starbucks
Adam Shankman, Director and Producer
Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, Consumer Technology Association
David A. Shaywitz, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, DNAnexus
Behshad Sheldon, President and CEO, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals
Ben Silbermann, CEO, Pinterest
Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft
Jostein Solheim, CEO, Ben & Jerry’s
Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International
David Spector, Cofounder, ThirdLove
Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO, Yelp
Yancey Strickler, CEO, Kickstarter
Jerry Stritzke, President and CEO, REI
John G. Stumpf, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Wells Fargo & Company
Julie Sweet, Group Chief Executive North America, Accenture
Christopher J. Swift, Chairman and CEO, The Hartford
Bret Taylor, CEO, Quip
Todd Thibodeaux, CEO, CompTIA
Brian Tippens, Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
David Tisch, Managing Partner, BoxGroup
Nirav Tolia, Cofounder and CEO, Nextdoor
Ed Townley, CEO, Cabot Creamery
Kevin A. Trapani, President and CEO, The Redwood Groups
Mark Trudeau, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
Paul Van Deventer, President & CEO, Meeting Professionals International
Ken Wasch, President, Software & Information Industry Association
Casey Wasserman, Chairman and CEO of Wasserman & President and CEO of the Wasserman Foundation
Bob & Harvey Weinstein, Co-Founders and Co-Chairmen, The Weinstein Company
Devin Wenig, CEO, eBay
Tim Westergren, Founder and CEO, Pandora Media, Inc.
Anne Wojcicki, CEO, 23andMe
Robert Wolfe, CEO, CrowdRise
Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Facebook
Photo by IKEA