Bruce Springsteen. Pearl Jam. Cirque du Soleil. Ringo Starr. Boston. Demi Lavato. Nick Jonas. This is just a short list of performers that have cancelled their events in North Carolina due to their disagreements with North Carolina’s House Bill 2.
But what’s so bad about House Bill 2?
House Bill 2, officially called the “Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act” was passed by North Carolina’s Legislature on March 23. The most controversial part of the bill is the requirement that people in North Carolina to use a public (in government buildings and on school campuses) restroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate. The bill also bars local governments from making exceptions to that rule.
Many people were angered by the law for a variety of reasons. Opponents of the bill felt that it encroached on the rights of transgendered persons. Some businesses have lashed out against this portion of the bill by cancelling business deals (like PayPal did).
There is also resentment over how the bill prohibits cities from raising their minimum wages. This caused strife as many believe the minimum wage needs to accommodate the high costs of living in major cities.
Aside from social strife, the bill has also caused economic troubles for the state as well. According to TWC News, the bill has cost the state 1,750 jobs and roughly $77 million through cut business deals and lower tourist traffic.
Despite economic losses and social tension caused by the law, some people in both the government and in the general public still support it and have called out those who have gone against it. Governor Pat McCrory chastised PayPal, which decided to pull an expansion they were planning out of Charlotte. In a Fox News interview with Megyn Kelly, McCrory said that “the selective hypocrisy is outrageous by PayPal” when told about how PayPal does business in Saudi Arabia, a country where it is illegal to be gay. The governor continued saying “This is where the corporate elite have be very careful about getting involved in politics… It’s selective outrage, and they might need to examine their own practices in other states, which have the exact same rules that North Carolina does.”
Other groups support the bill because they say it protects women and children from being preyed on in the restroom. The groups have referenced incidents in other parts of the country where laws allowing citizens to use whichever restroom they want have been abused. In one such case, a male resident of Seattle undressed himself in a women’s locker room. Women in the locker room objected to his being there, and the man continuously cited Seattle’s new rule allowing its citizens to use whichever restroom makes them feel more comfortable.
Even though the bill’s intended effects would have only directly affected less than 1% of the population, House Bill 2 has unintentionally caused damages to the entire state. As stated earlier, the bill has cost the state money, jobs, and tourism, but it has also damaged the reputation of North Carolina as an otherwise progressive state in the South. The backlash over the law has gotten so out of hand that the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the state. While the law has been generally accepted by other states in the South (Especially Mississippi, which passed a similar law), the bill has still brought damage to North Carolina on a national scale.