— Major businesses across North Carolina and the nation are pushing back against a new North Carolina law that that invalidates Charlotte's new legal protections for LGBT individuals.

American Airlines, which operates its second-largest hub in Charlotte; the biotech company Biogen, which manufactures pharmaceuticals in Research Triangle Park; and Dow Chemical were among the corporations condemning the new law.

“We believe no individual should be discriminated against because of gender identity or sexual orientation,” American Airlines spokeswoman Katie Cody said. “Laws that allow such discrimination go against our fundamental belief of equality and are bad for the economies of the state in which they are enacted.”

The impact on North Carolina jobs will take time to quantify, but Democrats warned that North Carolina risks losing billions in federal education dollars by conflicting with Title IX anti-discrimination regulations that apply in public schools.

The NCAA, which is scheduled to hold men’s basketball championship games in Greensboro in 2017 and Charlotte in 2018, also said it’s monitoring the situation and takes diversity into account when it chooses its event sites.

“Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values. It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events,” the organization’s statement said.

Supporters of the law signed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory Wednesday night say it protects all people from having to share bathrooms with people who make them feel unsafe. Advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights call the law a “devastating” setback that they may try to challenge in court.

Determined to undo a Charlotte ordinance that would have protected transgender people who use restrooms aligned with their gender identity, the North Carolina legislature convened a special session to produce the new law, which prevents all cities and counties in the state from passing their own anti-discrimination rules.

The new law also prohibits local governments from requiring businesses to pay workers more than the state’s minimum wage, currently set at $7.25 an hour. McCrory had sought a bill dealing exclusively with bathrooms, but signed it anyway.


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