CEOs, Gov'ts Speak Against NC Law

CEOs, Gov'ts Speak Against NC Law

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Company CEOs and municipal officials are joining other government and business leaders opposing North Carolina's new law that prevents specific anti-discrimination rules for LGBT people for public accommodations and restroom use.

The Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina released Friday the names of another 10 company executives that have signed on to a letter criticizing the law and seeking its repeal, bringing the number of names to more than 120. New executives include those from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Qualcomm and EMC Corp.

The law, approved by the Republican legislature and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, responded to a Charlotte City Council ordinance approved in February that would have extended protections to gays and lesbians as well as bisexual and transgender people while at hotels, restaurants and stores. Charlotte also would have allowed transgender people to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity.

Separately Friday, the venture capital arm of Google's parent corporation confirmed it won't invest in North Carolina startup businesses while the law is in place. GV spokeswoman Jodi Olson cited written comments by CEO Bill Maris in which he asked his firm's partners to flag possible North Carolina investments because he's "not comfortable deploying dollars into startups there until the voters there fix this." The move was first reported by Re/code, a tech-focused news site.

The new law blocked Charlotte's rules and prevented other local governments from approving similar ordinances. And government agencies of all kinds must now require people who use multi-stall public restrooms to use the one that corresponds with their biological sex.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and Boston's city council also this week banned government-connected travel to North Carolina as a sign of opposition to the law. Similar travel bans have been issued by the governors of Washington, New York and Connecticut and by other cities.

NCAA President Mark Emmert says he has spoken to North Carolina's governor about the state's new law excluding LGBT people from antidiscrimination protections, making clear if it remains in place it will affect the state's chances to host major college athletic events

A rally was held early Friday night in front of the Legislative Building to support transgender people and to oppose the law. Supporters of the new law held prayer vigils Thursday night in multiple locations in eastern North Carolina. One was held across from the Executive Mansion, where McCrory lives.

Supporters of the law say hundreds of businesses support the law and have signed on to their own letter praising McCrory and the legislature.

McCrory and a key lawmaker this week suggested some changes are possible to the law. But Senate leader Phil Berger, has no appetite for them because "an overwhelming majority of North Carolinians we've heard from support" the law, spokeswoman Shelly Carver said in a release. The General Assembly reconvenes April 25.

(KA)