RALEIGH, N.C. — An economic backlash broadened Tuesday against a North Carolina law that critics say discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, with PayPal announcing it has canceled a major expansion in the state.
North Carolina has come under heavy criticism since Gov. Pat McCrory signed the law, requiring transgender people to use public bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificates. The law, passed in response to a Charlotte ordinance that offered protections to gay and transgender people, also excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from the state's antidiscrimination law and bars local governments from expanding antidiscrimination rules.
More than 100 corporate leaders have decried the law, saying it is unfair and makes it more difficult to attract talent.
Just days before signing the law last month, McCrory attended PayPal's announcement that it was opening a new operation center in Charlotte, where he was once mayor. On Tuesday, the San Jose, Calif.-based company said it was canceling the $3.6 million plan, which would have created 400 jobs.
"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," the company said in a statement.
PayPal's announcement came days after Lionsgate, the California-based entertainment company, decided to move the filming for the pilot episode of a comedy series to Canada. New Jersey-based Braeburn Pharmaceuticals also said it was reconsidering building a $50 million facility in Durham County projected to bring 50 jobs paying an average of $76,000 a year. The NBA raised doubts about whether it would continue plans to hold its All-Star Game in Charlotte next year.
When asked about PayPal's move Tuesday, McCrory repeated earlier comments that he was open to improving the state law but said it was needed to counteract the Charlotte ordinance. The law's backers say it prevents men from molesting women in restrooms and locker rooms while claiming to be transgender. Opponents say that claim is bogus.