POLITICS

Silicon Valley Enlisted To Fight North Carolina's Anti-LGBT Law

The Human Rights Campaign is calling on tech leaders to support the Justice Department's case against HB2.

The Human Rights Campaign is asking major tech companies to lend their support to the Justice Department's case against North Carolina's new anti-LGBT law.

The LGBT equality group's president, Chad Griffin, is in Silicon Valley meeting with dozens of companies that have expressed opposition to HB2 and asking them to sign an amicus brief in support of the Obama administration's lawsuit. 

"Governor McCrory has said he wanted to hear from businesses," said HRC Communications Director Jay Brown in a statement. "To be clear, 200 some business leaders have already spoken out against HB2. And now, given their firm commitment to ensuring the best for their workforce and customers, we're already seeing strong interest from dozens of companies in joining our amicus brief." 

An HRC spokesperson could not confirm which companies were contacted about the brief. 

HB2, signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) in March, bars transgender people from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity, and prevents cities from establishing their own protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

On Monday, the Justice Department filed suit against the state of North Carolina, arguing that the measure violates federal civil rights law. In announcing the suit, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said HB2 has inflicted "further indignity on a population that has already suffered far more than its fair share."

"This is a time to summon our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion and open-mindedness," she said.

The state, meanwhile, has countersued the DOJ, accusing the Obama administration of "baseless and blatant overreach."

Many Silicon Valley giants have already spoken out against the law, including Facebook, Google, Apple and Salesforce. While amicus briefs do not have legal force, they allow interested parties to offer additional arguments for the court to consider. HRC waged a similar campaign when the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, drawing support from Verizon, Cisco and other major corporations. 

Read the letter sent to tech companies by HRC below: 

Dear Colleagues, 

Thank you for your tremendous support opposing HB2 in North Carolina. 

You may have seen that the United States Department of Justice has filed a historic lawsuit arguing that HB2 violates multiple federal civil rights statutes by requiring transgender people to use government owned restrooms and facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. Legal prohibitions on sex discrimination clearly includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity. HRC would be happy to provide additional resources on this strong legal trend. 

As leaders committed to LGBT inclusion, we wanted to give you early notice that the Human Rights Campaign is organizing an amicus brief for businesses in support of the Department of Justice's challenging this harmful law.

The business community knows that discrimination is bad for business and bad for North Carolina. North Carolina has already lost more than a half billion dollars -- and counting -- in economic activity just from companies canceling or reconsidering plans to come to the state, including more than 1700 lost jobs. Plus, untold economic damage has occurred from cancelled conventions, concerts, and other lost tourism dollars. These stark figures don't include potential economic development that will never come to fruition in North Carolina because of Gov. McCrory’s radical law, or the potential catastrophic loss of billions of dollars in federal funding for schools, roads, bridges, and other essential services. 

For businesses operating in North Carolina, recruiting and retaining top talent is essential. Our efforts are aimed at keeping a level playing field for all employees and businesses in the state. Open and affirming workplaces prosper and you all represent businesses that demonstrate this every day.

We are in the process of finalizing representation and will be reaching out in the coming days with more information. We hope that you will consider officially adding your business to this amicus brief, supporting the basic civil rights of transgender people with the aim of stopping the civil rights violations occurring in North Carolina and preventing future violations.

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