N.C. law blocking LGBT protections cost Charlotte $3.6-million PayPal deal

The online payment company had been planning to open an operations center in Charlotte, bringing 400 jobs to the state. 

Jeff Chiu/ AP/ File
Signage outside PayPal's headquarters in San Jose, Calif., on March 10, 2015. On Tuesday, PayPal said it is canceling plans to bring 400 jobs to North Carolina after lawmakers passed a law that restricts protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

A North Carolina law stipulating that transgender individuals must use restrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate has convinced online transaction company PayPal to pull out of the city of Charlotte, where it had planned to open an operations center.

The new state law reverses a local ordinance that was more LGBT friendly, and has stripped individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender of certain legal protections. PayPal's leadership has made it clear that it does not support the state's decision.

"The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal's mission and culture," Paypal CEO Dan Schulman said in a statement.

The planned operations center would have brought four hundred jobs to Charlotte.

Supporters of the new state law say that PayPal should not insert itself into state legislation debates.

"A company with its hands in the pockets of the taxpayers of North Carolina shouldn't insert itself into the bathroom policies of the state," the North Carolina Values Coalition said in a statement. The Coalition also said PayPal did not let human rights violations in Cuba stop its expansion there. 

PayPal is not alone in its reaction to North Carolina's legislation. Over 100 business leaders have called the state law unfair, and say that it may make the state less attractive to skilled workers.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said that ending local anti-discrimination laws was just "common sense," citing concerns about molestation and assault in public restrooms.

PayPal is just the latest corporation to respond negatively to what liberal executives see as discriminatory legislation. Just days after the legislation was signed in March, major companies and associations including the National Basketball Association, Facebook, and Dow Chemicals had raised objections to the state law.

Facebook, Apple, and Google all have complexes in North Carolina, but unlike PayPal, have not threatened to remove their businesses from the state.

Other states that have contemplated religious liberty laws, including nearby Georgia, have prompted similar reactions from large companies.

The popular AMC show "The Walking Dead" is filmed in Georgia. Its producers have threatened to leave the state if Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed a bill that would allow business owners with "sincere religious beliefs" to refuse service to LGBT individuals. Governor Deal ultimately vetoed the bill.

A religious freedom law signed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) last year cost the state about $60 million in tourist and convention revenue.

"Both Georgia and North Carolina have marketed themselves as being good for business," Emory University professor Tim Holbrook wrote for CNN. "Indiana apparently was not a big enough canary in the coal mine."

This report contains material from the Associated Press and Reuters.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.