On Wednesday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2, which prevents cities from protecting gays and bisexuals from discrimination, and specifically restricts transgender individuals’ rights to use restrooms and other facilities that don’t match their “biological sex.” In a flood of statements and tweets, Google, Apple, Facebook, and other tech heavyweights have roundly criticized the law as out of line with their own core values.
A tweet from Google (GOOG) described the law as “misguided & wrong,” while a Facebook (FB) spokesman said the company was “disappointed.” PayPal (PYPL) tweeted that it is “proud to champion LGBTQ equality in N. Carolina and around the world.”
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Apple’s statement to Observer reporter Katie Peralta reads: “Apple Stores and our company are open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love . . . Our future as Americans should be focused on inclusion and prosperity, and not discrimination and division. We were disappointed to see Governor McCrory sign this legislation.”
If Apple’s statement is particularly strong, there’s good reason: Apple (APPL) CEO Tim Cook is almost certainly the most powerful openly gay man in America, if not the world.
Among non-tech companies, American Airlines (AAL) said that laws like North Carolina’s “go against our fundamental belief of equality,” and ESPN said that it will “evaluate all of our options” when considering North Carolina as a site for future events.
For more on North Carolina’s bathroom brawl, watch our video:
Of course, as the Observer points out, corporate support for LGBT rights is often less rooted in progressive ideology than in business concerns. Any appearance of support for discriminatory policies could threaten their ability to reach some customers, and even to recruit top talent.