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PayPal Cancels N. Carolina Expansion Plans over Transgender Bathroom Law

FILE - The exterior of PayPal Inc. headquarters is seen in downtown Mountain View, California.
FILE - The exterior of PayPal Inc. headquarters is seen in downtown Mountain View, California.

The online payment service PayPal announced Tuesday it had canceled a planned expansion into Charlotte, North Carolina, following the state's passage of a controversial bathroom law.

PayPal announced the decision two weeks after state lawmakers acted to overturn a local ordinance that would have forced private businesses in Charlotte to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with, not their biological sex.

According to a statement from PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, the new law constitutes a violation of equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

FILE - PayPal CEO Dan Schulman
FILE - PayPal CEO Dan Schulman

"The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal's mission and culture. As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte," Schulman said in the statement.

North Carolina's governor, Pat McCrory, signed the measure into law March 23, blocking local governments from enacting ordinances to allow transgender people to use bathrooms that do not match their physical sex.

The legislation came a month after Charlotte passed a law to allow those who identify as a gender different from that printed on their birth certificate to access locker rooms and bathrooms that are normally reserved for members of the opposite biological sex. The mandate would have required all private businesses to abide by the expanded non-discrimination policy, as well.

For, against

Critics of the new law say it puts North Carolina's transgender population at risk of being discriminated against and violates the guarantees of equal treatment under the Constitution.

The bill's backers say it is necessary to preserve the privacy of the majority of citizens who identify as their biological sex. In addition to privacy concerns, proponents of the law say the city of Charlotte overstepped the authority granted to it as a local government under the state's constitution.

While the Charlotte ordinance was overturned, state lawmakers included in the new legislation a statewide policy against discrimination in public accommodations that mirrors an existing policy against employment discrimination.

PayPal said it is seeking an alternate location for its new global operations center, which would have brought with it to Charlotte a $3.6 million investment and more than 400 skilled jobs. PayPal joins a growing list of major businesses and politicians that have vowed to boycott North Carolina over the law.

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