RALEIGH, N.C.—As the economic toll of HB2 continues to rise, opponents and supporters of the legislation alike are redoubling their efforts. The media continues to report ever-rising monetary loss to the state. WRAL has calculated $40 million in losses to the Raleigh area alone, only from convention revenue. If the scope were widened to the entire state and to all areas of the economy, $40 million begins to look like pocket change.
Other sources have calculated the economic cost significantly higher; WFMY reports that a University of California, Los Angeles study estimated that North Carolina risks losing $5 billion a year in business and federal funds. Yes, that is a B.
Economics are one driving force that opponents used against HB2, and corporate influence was undeniably invoked in a recent amicus brief filed by 68 businesses. The corporations, including Apple, IKEA, General Electric, PayPal and others, signed their support of full repeal of HB2 due to its unconstitutional nature.
In response to the brief, Gov. Pat McCrory’s counsel Bob Stephens stated, “It’s disappointing that some companies are joining the Obama Administration’s position, which jeopardizes those long-held expectations of privacy.”
The federal government condemned above has fought HB2 tooth and nail. On July 6, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion asking the Middle District of North Carolina to block Section 1.3 of HB2 from being implemented. This section is the most-debated of the notorious bill, requiring transgender people to use the bathroom of their birth gender.
This motion echoes the same ideas behind the federal lawsuit brought against North Carolina in May, which has yet to be decided. Shortly after the lawsuit’s filing, the Education Department and the Justice Department instructed all states regarding the definition of and consequences for transgender discrimination, citing such discrimination as a federal crime. States including Alabama, Louisiana, West Virginia, Texas and others responded with a lawsuit against federal overreach.
Mississippi, one of the states pursuing this lawsuit, recently had a significant federal court loss in a case of discriminatory legislation similar to North Carolina’s HB2. Mississippi’s law, struck down by U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves, allowed refusal of service based on personal religious beliefs and restricted bathroom access and dress choices for transgender people. The law was struck down before its implementation.
The national debate goes on, but at home in North Carolina, opponents of HB2 are finding new and original ideas to have their voices heard. Progress N.C., a pro-LGBT group, has reserved the first floor of the governor’s mansion for a “garden party” in support of full equality.
Logan Smith, a spokesman for the organization, admits that “it remains to be seen whether that will be canceled.”