It is 2016.
My governor, Pat McCrory, just signed a bill restricting LGBT rights. My local paper reports two key highlights: local governments cannot open bathrooms for people to use based on their gender identity, and it provides a statewide nondiscrimination law that doesn’t mention protections for LGBT people. Some argue that it can also gut protections for women and minorities, although that’s to be determined.
I run a little consulting firm here in North Carolina. It’s no Salesforce, but it’s not nothing. It’s a good life, and with no children and a solid balance sheet, I contribute more than my fair share of tax dollars to my community. I was thinking about buying a beach house in Topsail, a lovely coastal community that showcases some of the best of what North Carolina has to offer. And although it’s way off in the future, I’ve been planning to retire in this state.
But my dreams are on hold.
It’s an election year in North Carolina. If the Governor is re-elected and these ordinances aren’t struck down in 2017, I will close my business in North Carolina and move elsewhere.
I have no choice. I work in human resources and advise some of the largest HR technology firms. We are in the business of expanding rights and freedoms. We are the first line of defense when someone has been wronged at work. We level the playing field. We try to protect people from corporate abuse and power.
I can’t do business in North Carolina with these laws on the books. And I’m not in the business of going back to the future and telling the people of North Carolina where they can and can’t go to the bathroom. What’s next? Buses? Water fountains?
Thanks but no thanks.
If McCrory is re-elected, my business moves elsewhere. And, based on conversations with other business owners in my network, I’m not the only one.