Metro Weekly

North Carolina newspaper slams claims anti-gay law hasn’t hurt economy

Anti-LGBT law HB 2 is estimated to have cost North Carolina almost $700 million

Raleigh Convention Center - Photo: Daderot, via Wikimedia.

Raleigh Convention Center – Photo: Daderot, via Wikimedia.

One of North Carolina’s top newspapers has lambasted claims by state Commerce Secretary John Skvarla that an anti-LGBT law hasn’t hurt the local economy.

In an editorial published Thursday, the Raleigh News & Observer‘s editorial board rejected Skvarla’s contention that the controversial HB 2 law “hasn’t moved the needle one iota.”

The editorial board called his comment “one of the most preposterous, downright fanciful presentations of this election season.”

“HB 2 is the foolish law passed in haste by Republicans in the General Assembly, and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, that in effect excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from anti-discrimination protections and prohibits local governments from passing such protections on their own,” the editorial reads. “It was done in petulant response to a Charlotte City Council action allowing transgender people to use bathrooms of the gender with which they identify — something they have been doing for generations.”

More importantly, passage of HB 2 has demonstrably cost the state thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in spending that were lost through cancellations of concerts, conventions or sporting events, the editorial board noted. And the law will continue to cost the state substantial economic opportunities unless it’s repealed.

The Human Rights Campaign, which opposes HB 2, estimates that the law will have cost the state at least $698 million, which includes approximately $693.76 million in losses, as well as $500,000 to defend the law in court and another $5.76 million to try to woo businesses back to the Tar Heel State.

“HB 2 isn’t just some political gaffe on the part of Republicans who apparently could care less what it’s done to the state’s reputation,” the News & Observer concluded. “It is a certifiable disaster and the consequences from it are only going to get worse.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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