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Apple, Google and Facebook object to new North Carolina anti-LGBT law

Apple, Google and Facebook object to new North Carolina anti-LGBT law

RALEIGH, N.C. — Technology giants Apple, Google and Facebook are among a dozen big companies or their top executives objecting to a North Carolina law that bars municipalities from adopting their own anti-discrimination ordinances.

Facebook, Google and Apple each run massive data-processing complexes in western North Carolina. They joined American Airlines, IBM and others in reacting to a state law quickly adopted Wednesday that blocked local government measures to counter discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people.

None of the high-profile companies have threatened to immediately withdraw business from North Carolina.

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People protest outside the North Carolina Executive Mansion in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday.Emery P. Dalesio/AP

People protest outside the North Carolina Executive Mansion in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday.

San Francisco’s mayor on Friday banned city workers from non-essential travel to North Carolina. The city, which has a large gay and lesbian population, “will not subsidize legally sanctioned discrimination,” Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement.

The Charlotte ordinance would have enabled transgender people to legally use restrooms aligned with their gender identity, and would have provided broad protections against discrimination in public accommodations in the state’s largest city.

North Carolina is the first state to require public school and university students to use only those bathrooms that match their birth certificates, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

Advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights say state legislators demonized them with bogus claims about bathroom risks. Supporters say the new law protects all people from having to share bathrooms with people who make them feel unsafe.

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Corporations announcing their displeasure “are shamefully bullying” state officials while many small business owners who live in North Carolina support the new legislation, North Carolina Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald said.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee banned city workers from non-essential travel to North Carolina.Susana Bates

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee banned city workers from non-essential travel to North Carolina.

“North Carolinians should be aware of this so they have the opportunities to be consumers of companies that are congruent with their values,” Fitzgerald said in a statement.

Other businesses have voiced support for the measure Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law, a spokesman for his re-election campaign said. Spokesman Ricky Diaz did not respond when asked which businesses backed the governor’s decision.

About 200 protesters blocked a downtown Raleigh street in front of the state’s Executive Mansion on Thursday evening. Police said in a statement that five people were arrested after they sat down in the street and refused orders to disperse.

McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor, stays in the mansion while in the state capital but was not there at the time of the protest, spokesman Josh Ellis said.

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