PayPal, 'the Boss' and now a porn site bully N.C. over bathroom bill

by Michael Foust |

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Christian Examiner) – The business and entertainment world increased pressure this week on North Carolina to reverse its transgender bathroom law, even as conservative groups urged the governor and legislators to stand their ground.

The law in question – HB2 -- reversed a Charlotte transgender ordinance that had allowed men to use women's restrooms, and vice versa, in public accommodations such as restaurants and stores. Although HB2 was applauded by conservative groups and Christian leaders as protecting women and girls from predators, it has led to an outcry that rivals what Indiana faced when it passed – and then reversed – its religious liberty law last year.

PayPal was the first company to take action, announcing it was cancelling a plan to open a new center in the state, and on Tuesday Deutsche Bank followed by saying it, too, was axing an expansion plan.

Bruce Springsteen and his band cancelled a concert that was scheduled for April 10 in Greensboro, refunding money for all of the tickets. Jimmy Buffett criticized the law but said he would not cancel a concert in the state.

"I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters," Springsteen wrote on his website, referencing businesses and groups who opposed the law. "... 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. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards."

Conservative author and writer Ryan T. Anderson says the debate is full of hypocrisy. He noted that PayPal's international headquarters are in Singapore, "where people engaged in private consensual same-sex acts can face two years in jail."

"It might also want to explain why it announced in 2012 that it would open offices in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)," Anderson wrote at the Daily Signal. "While North Carolina placed some commonsense limits on public bathrooms, the UAE reportedly jails gay and transgender people."

Anderson also wondered by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned non-essential state travel to North Carolina, but himself went to Cuba.

"Is Cuba better on human rights than North Carolina? Or is Cuomo being a bit hypocritical?" Anderson asked.

In the sports realm, officials with the NBA have spoken out against the law, threatening to move the 2017 All-Star game, scheduled to be held in Charlotte. Former NBA star and current TV basketball analyst Charles Barkley has said he would support such a move.

Meanwhile, a leading porn website – which CE is not naming here – has begun blocking all traffic from North Carolina, urging its audience to contact state officials and demand the law be overturned.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCory, a Republican, has continued to defend the law, even as he issued an executive order Tuesday expanding nondiscrimination laws for public employees to include sexual orientation and gender identity. But his order did not impact the bathroom portion of HB2.

McCory maintained Tuesday that the state's bathroom law was "common sense." He also said there had been much misinformation about it.

"The private sector can make its own policy with regard to restrooms, locker rooms and/or shower facilities. This is not a government decision. This is your decision in the private sector," he said.

Meanwhile, Mississippi, too, is facing pressure to reverse its new religious liberty law. Singer Bryan Adams cancelled a Mississippi show there that was scheduled for this Thursday night, while author John Grisham – a Mississippi native — signed a letter opposing the state's law.