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PayPal Halts North Carolina Expansion Due to LGBTQIA Discrimination Legislation

Everyone accepts PayPal, but PayPal doesn't accept hate.


Ubiquitous online payment company PayPal had big plans for North Carolina, with the scheduled opening of a new global operations center in Charlotte. Now, that economic benefit of over 400 skilled jobs coming to the state has been dashed by recent, statewide legislation dismantling local progress in eliminating LGBTQIA discrimination.

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The recently passed (in record time, mind you) law targeted transgender individuals specifically by mandating that people in North Carolina only use restrooms designated for their biological sex as opposed to their gender identity. The law came about in reaction to the city of Charlotte enacting a law protecting the right of trans people to use bathrooms and other facilities matching their gender identity. If that wasn’t bad enough, the law also barred local governments from providing any of their own anti-discrimination measures for people based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Effectively, it bars local governments from governing in ways that don’t suit the state government, while NC Governor Pat McCrory had the gall to call Charlotte’s anti-discrimination measure “government overreach and intrusion.” Figure that one out.

Anyway, Charlotte—and North Carolina as a whole—will continue to pay the price as PayPal cancels plans for their new facility. In a statement from the company today, they explained,

This decision reflects PayPal’s deepest values and our strong belief that every person has the right to be treated equally, and with dignity and respect. These principles of fairness, inclusion and equality are at the heart of everything we seek to achieve and stand for as a company. And they compel us to take action to oppose discrimination.

Our decision is a clear and unambiguous one. But we do regret that we will not have the opportunity to be a part of the Charlotte community and to count as colleagues the skilled and talented people of the region. As a company that is committed to the principle that everyone deserves to live without fear of discrimination simply for being who they are, becoming an employer in North Carolina, where members of our teams will not have equal rights under the law, is simply untenable.

While we will seek an alternative location for our operations center, we remain committed to working with the LGBT community in North Carolina to overturn this discriminatory legislation, alongside all those who are committed to equality.

Ars Technica reports that while this is not the first instance of a company canceling plans in NC because of the discriminatory law (nor is it the only instance nationwide, as Georgia is having similar problems with Disney, and other states are embroiled in similar discrimination debacles), this is the largest economic hit for the state so far as a result of the law. We can only hope that PayPal, other companies, and everyone else standing up and fighting this horrible law will succeed, and it’s sad that people had to miss out on these jobs because of someone else’s hate in the meantime.

(image via Cory Doctorow on Flickr)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

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