PayPal pulls North Carolina plan after transgender bathroom law

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PayPal cancels $3.6 million operations center in Charlotte over LGBTQ discrimination law

PayPal Holdings Inc (PYPL.O) on Tuesday canceled plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte, North Carolina and invest $3.6 million in the area after the state passed a controversial law targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens.

The digital payment company's protest is the first by a major business after North Carolina became the first state last month to enact a measure requiring people to use bathrooms or locker rooms in schools and other public facilities that match the gender on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.

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The law, which overturned a Charlotte city ordinance, was widely interpreted as an attack on LGBT rights. State lawmakers also voted to prohibit local governments from enacting anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal's mission and culture," Chief Executive Officer Dan Schulman said in a statement.

More on the opposition to the law:

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North Carolina transgender bathroom law
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PayPal pulls North Carolina plan after transgender bathroom law
DURHAM, NC - MAY 10: The 'We Are Not This' slogan is posted at the entrances to Bull McCabes Irish Pub on May 10, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina. Debate over transgender bathroom access spreads nationwide as the U.S. Department of Justice countersues North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory from enforcing the provisions of House Bill 2 (HB2) that dictate what bathrooms transgender individuals can use. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
Elaine Martin, right, listens as Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, speaks during a press conference to announce filing of federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina's HB 2 law at the LGBT Center of Raleigh on Monday, March 28, 2016. Several different advocacy groups and some of the lead plaintiffs spoke at the event. (Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
Joaquin Carcano, center, the lead plaintiff in the case, speaks during a press conference to announce filing of federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina's HB 2 law at the LGBT Center of Raleigh on Monday, March 28, 2016. Several different advocacy groups and some of the lead plaintiffs spoke at the event. Joaquin was born a woman and is now a man. Simone Bell with Lambda Law is at left; Chris Brook with the ACLU is at right. (Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
TO GO AFP STORY BY BRIGITTE DUSSEAU - Transgender delegates Jamie Shier (L) and Janice Covington pose for photographs at the Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 4, 2012. The Democratic National Convention Committee announced Wednesday that US President Barack Obama would move his acceptance speech from the outdoor Bank of America Stadium to the indoor Time Warner Cable Arena due to predictions of thunderstorms. AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read BRIGITTE DUSSEAU/AFP/GettyImages)
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In a letter on March 29, founders and chief executives of more than a hundred companies, including Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) urged North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to repeal the legislation.

Earlier in March, the payment processor announced plans to open the operations center in Charlotte and employ 400 skilled workers there. It was set to invest more than $3.6 million in the Charlotte area by the end of 2017, according to a news release on the governor's website.

After PayPal's decision, North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, who like McCrory is a Republican, defended the law.

"If our action in keeping men out of women's bathrooms and showers protected the life of just one child or one woman from being molested or assaulted, then it was worth it," he said in a statement.

PayPal said it is now looking for another site for the center and has not yet made a decision on location.

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