Businesses have been increasingly critical of North Carolina's recently passed anti-LGBTQ law. Now, it looks like one big company — PayPal — is officially pulling its business from the state in a move that may cost North Carolina more than 400 jobs.
PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman announced in a statement on Tuesday:
Two weeks ago, PayPal announced plans to open a new global operations center in Charlotte and employ over 400 people in skilled jobs. In the short time since then, legislation has been abruptly enacted by the State of North Carolina that invalidates protections of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens and denies these members of our community equal rights under the law.
The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture. As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.
North Carolina's law bans nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people and stops transgender people in schools and government buildings from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. It has been described by LGBTQ advocates as the most sweeping anti-LGBTQ law in the country.
With the support of business, LGBTQ advocates hope they can ensure the law's repeal. This kind of business pressure is one of the reasons Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a religious freedom bill that was perceived as anti-LGBTQ, and one of the reasons Indiana amended its religious freedom law to clarify that it does not allow discrimination.
Since North Carolina passed its anti-LGBTQ law in March, businesses have been voicing their disappointment. A+E Networks and 21st Century Fox said they would reconsider using North Carolina as a filming location in the future. And more than 120 major CEOs signed a letter asking North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to repeal the law.
But PayPal is the biggest, most direct threat to North Carolina's economy yet — potentially costing the state more than 400 jobs and an operation that could have expanded to create even more business in the state in the future. It's certainly not what McCrory, who ran for governor to create jobs, aimed for when he signed the legislation.
For more on North Carolina's anti-LGBTQ law, read Vox's explainer.