10 June 2016

American Businesses Support HB2

When there was still no "Bathroom Bill" or House Bill 2 (HB2), many of North Carolina’s business establishments were considering moving their trade from Charlotte to Fort Mill because they opposed Charlotte's nondiscrimination ordinance.

Specifically, they found the transgender bathroom part particularly troubling.

Businesses that support HB2, like the legislators who ushered the measure into law, largely focus on its bathroom provision, which mandates that transgender people use the bathroom of the gender that corresponds with their birth certificate instead of the gender with which they identify, as the Charlotte ordinance would have allowed.

After House Bill 2 was passed last 3 March, scores of passionate corporations and owners of North Carolina businesses have come out in favor of the measure, saying it lets business owners make their own decisions. Many of them appear on KeepNCSafe.org's list of businesses that support the measure. Over 300 favor it despite the "vocal threats and bullying from the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transexuals (LGBT) community."

Twin brothers David and Jason Benham who own Benham Real Estate in Concord, say that they have gotten "nothing but support in the marketplace" after voicing their position on HB2. The only resistance they've seen has come on social media.

Echoing the description Gov. Pat McCrory uses, the Benhams call HB2 "common sense."

"It’s common sense not to allow men in women’s restrooms. It's also common sense not to force business owners to participate in expressive events that are against their religious beliefs. The First Amendment protects our freedom not to participate in speech and events that promote things we don't believe," the two said in an emailed statement to the Observer.

The Benham brothers are outspoken conservative activists who in 2014 had their HGTV show canceled because of a video that surfaced showing David Benham pushing an anti-homosexuality agenda.

When HB2 was passed in March, the Charlotte Christian Chamber lauded Gov. Pat McCrory and the General Assembly for giving the business community the freedom to make their own decisions about bathroom facilities and non-discrimination policies.

“We encourage all our members to provide goods and services with Christian integrity and Biblical values,” the organization said in a statement in late March. Pat Baldridge, president of the Christian Chamber, declined an interview.

The bathroom provision is just one part of HB2, which struck down the non-discrimination ordinance Charlotte passed in February. Under HB2, non-discrimination protection is guaranteed to people based on their biological sex, not their sexual orientation and gender identity, which Charlotte’s ordinance would have provided.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/article75129037.html#storylink=cpy