Arguably everybody’s favorite American coffee company and coffeehouse chain, Starbucks, has dealt with some controversy since its birth in Seattle, Washington 1971. From labor disputes to the “War on Christmas” or “cup-gate” to “The Way I See It” campaign. And just this past week Starbucks was one of the latest companies to sign a letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory requesting the repeal of the state’s anti-LGBT law HB2 which licenses LGBT discrimination across the state.
North Carolina now requires citizens to use public restrooms and locker rooms according to the gender on their birth certificates. So transgender people who have not taken surgical and/or legal measures to modify the gender remarked on their birth certificates have no legal sanction under state law to use public restrooms of the gender with which they identify. Companies like Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Wells Fargo, Barnes & Noble and Uber and American Airlines have also signed the letter for HB2’s abolition.
The letter was ordered by the Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC and was brought to the governor by the groups’ chairpeople on Thursday. The letter states that the law does not demonstrate “the values of our companies, of our country, or even the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians.” It also claims the law is “bad for business.”
“We believe that HB2 will make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation’s best and brightest workers and attract the most talented students from across the nation,” the letter says. “It will also diminish the state’s draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses, and economic activity.”
I wonder whether companies really care about this issue or whether they simply want to be labeled as supportive of LGBT or any other type of activism. As the HRCENC stated, not taking these progressive stances is “bad for business.” I suppose we’ll never know their true intentions. It is surprising, however, that in 2016 these laws are still being passed.
More info to come.