North Carolina’s “Don’t Say Gay” Law – Bad for Business, Bad for People

NC Senate Bill 49 sends the strong message that these families are bad.

North Carolina Senate Bill 49, Known as “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” but in reality is modeled after Florida’s horrific “Don’t Say Gay” law, is moving through our state legislature at lightening speed. Republicans in our state legislature are ignoring the voices of parents, health professionals and businesses as they ram this bill through.

This bill is bad for both businesses (I am a diversity, equity and inclusion – DEI – consultant and trainer primarily serving businesses) and for people in general.

Bad for Business: Several years ago when we had HB-2, known as the bathroom bill which demonized transgender people and prohibited municipalities from passing nondiscrimination laws based on sexual orientation and gender identity, our state took a huge economic hit. (Estimated over $400M in investment and jobs.)
• Several companies planning to relocate or expand in North Carolina curtailed their plans.
• Some state and local entities outside the state prohibited business travel to North Carolina.
• Several of my clients told me it significantly impeded their hiring new talent or transferring out-of-state employees to North Carolina.
• Even the 2017 NBA All-star game was pulled from Charlotte, NC.

Bad for People: This bill clearly sends a message that there is something wrong or bad about gay, bisexual and transgender people; that there is something so wrong about LGBTQ people that it cannot be discussed in school. What message does this send to a little boy or girl in elementary school that discussion about their two-dads or two-moms families are off limits? NC Governor Cooper even made a strong statement opposing this bill as a divisive culture-wars political ploy.

Corporations flying the Pride Flag without taking meaningful action is nothing more than an empty gesture.

In addition, this bill will further exacerbate the extreme teacher shortage facing North Carolina. First, open-minded progressive teachers would not want to teach in state with such regressive laws, and teachers in general strongly dislike people outside their profession micro-managing what they can and cannot teach.

Calling corporations to action: In closing, I strongly encourage all companies with a North Carolina presence to issue strong statements opposing this law. In addition, any corporate political giving to North Carolina republicans must be curtailed. Proclaiming to value LGBTQ+ diversity while remaining silent about the bill is the height of hypocrisy. Flying the rainbow flag at your facilities in June (LGBTQ Pride Month) without taking meaningful action throughout the year is nothing but meaningless showmanship.