The Business-Based Case Against a North Carolina Anti-Gay Constitutional Marriage Amendment

Note: These are NC State House Bill 777 and Senate Bill 106.

This week the North Carolina State Legislature is covening to consider proposals to amend our state constitution. One of the amendments under considerations is referred to by many as the “anti-gay marriage amendment” which would add to the North Carolina Constitution that only marriage between one man and one woman would be recognized by the state of North Carolina. It would go even further and state “No other relationship shall be recognized as a valid marriage by the State.” There are already effective state laws on this, so I wonder why a restrictive statement like this would need to be added to a constitution which by definition is supposed to define and protect rights.

Since I am a business consultant with one of my areas being diversity management, I want to address solely from a business perspective why this amendment is harmful to the North Carolina economy. I will fully agree that when something good for business is harmful to the society as a whole, it should not be done, but when something that is good for business also coincides with human rights and moral civility, it is a no-brainer. In this case opposing this amendment is both good for business and the right thing morally.

Here are the three reasons why the anti-gay marriage amendment is bad for North Carolina Business:

1. Corporations will hesitate to relocate or build facilities in North Carolina compared to other states. Most large corporations understand the value of diversity and even have programs to welcome and include LGBT People. One proof point is the major corporation Northrup Grumman almost reversed their decision to move their headquarters to Virginia when a state government leader came out with a very anti-gay stance. Other Virginia leaders had to do some major backpedaling and damage control to not lose Northrop Grumman. Link to newspaper article about this.

Is this the message we want to send from North Carolina?

2. GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) talented people would opt to move to a more progressive state that does not blatantly discriminate against them. As every state competes to have the best and brightest talent work for them, we should not erect big signs on our border that scream “Gay people not welcome here.”
3. This divisive measure is a highly-charged mean-spirited political maneuver which will divide our state and waste energy and time that should be focused instead on addressing much more pressing issues like unemployment, economic development, technology deployment and education.

To learn more about this issue and to get involved please check out the Equality NC Website.

UPDATE SEPT 6: The Raleigh News and Observer published an article that supports the content of this blog. Link to article.

UPDATE SEPT 7: An excellent 4 minute video from Replacement Ltd’s Lead Council Andrew Spanhour. Link to Video.