CHALLENGED ON BIAS LAW: Asa Hutchinson was told at a forum last week that Arkansas's anti-LGBT law was hurting business recruiting.
has dropped plans to add 400 skilled jobs in Charlotte because of the state's new law to protect those who discriminate against LGBT people
. Arkansas passed an LGBT discrimination bill in 2015.
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.
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.
It's that simple. North Carolina — and Arkansas and other states and cities — have declared official support for legal discrimination against certain classes of people. Why support people who believe and practice discrimination?
Sidelight: Gov. Asa Hutchinson
was told at a session with young business people last week according to accounts I've received from two people that were there that the LGBT discrimination law passed under his leadership in 2015 had discouraged people from taking jobs in Northwest Arkansas. Hutchinson reportedly told the person he hoped he'd stand up for his beliefs should the subject arise again in 2017. Alas, if it does, it will be for the wrong reasons — to make our law worse. To date, Hutchinson has shown little inclination to get in the way of discriminatory laws.
Hutchinson commented last Friday at the under-40 forum that he'd gotten a tweet of praise from Ellen DeGeneres
after a "compromise" LGBT discrimination bill
passed. This was a product of the failure of media coverage at the time and thefailure of equal rights supporters to speak clearly about the bill that passed. It was better, marginally, than a truly awful bill originally offered. But the ACLU and others made clear at the time that the compromise was no compromise if your aim was equal rights. The law provides no civil rights protection for LGBT people, only protection for people who discriminate against them. It's not surprising it sent a negative message to potential employees.
UPDATE: On the discrimination front, Mississippi's governor today signed legalized discrimination legislation
, which — like Arkansas's law — allows people to refuse service to gay people and discriminate against them in hiring and housing.