Jimmy Buffett will carry on with his performances in North Carolina even as other singers' cancelations over a controversial law targeting the LGBT community shutter many music venues.
The popular singer has been outspoken in his disagreement with the newly passed North Carolina Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, but it won't stop him from performing in the state, at least for now. Mr. Buffett cited loyalty to fans and a belief that many of them likewise disagreed with the law while explaining his choice to continue with the concert.
"I am lucky enough to have found a job in the business of fun. These shows were booked and sold out long before the governor signed that stupid law," the musician said in a statement on his website. "I am not going to let stupidity or bigotry trump fun for my loyal fans this year."
The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, informally called the "bathroom bill," restricts access to bathrooms based on the gender indicated by a person's birth certificate. The bill was signed into law last month, but has drawn sharp criticism. LGBT proponents say the law unfairly forces transgender people, even those who have gone through reconstructive surgeries to fully change genders, to use the bathroom of a gender they no longer identify with.
Buffett has multiple venues booked in the state for part of a current music tour. He referred to the law as "another stupid law, based on stupid assumptions," but likened playing in North Carolina to playing in many other states he has had policy disagreements with throughout his career.
"As a traveling musician for 40 years, I played many shows years ago, in many states where you could go to prison for 20 years for smoking a joint. It was a stupid law based on stupid assumptions. Time has fortunately reversed a lot of that way of thinking."
Will there be more North Carolina visits from the singer? Buffett said future visits would depend on whether the law is repealed.
Other musicians have not been as patient. Rock star Bruce Springsteen canceled a weekend concert in the North Carolina after the bathroom bill was passed.
Other states have recently suffered similar musical backlashes. Canadian musician Bryan Adams canceled a performance in Mississippi over a state law that allows some religious groups and businesses to withhold services from homosexual couples if it conflicts with their religious views.
Popular musicians Miley Cyrus, Emmylou Harris, Ty Herndon, and Chely Wright have likewise heavily criticized Tennessee over a proposed bill that would institute bathroom restrictions similar to the North Carolina law, but for public schools and colleges, according to Reuters.
"Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry – which is happening as I write – is one of them," Mr. Springsteen said in an online statement.
This report includes material from the Associated Press and Reuters.