GOP defenders of North Carolina's controversial bathroom law are digging in despite PayPal's announcement this week that it would relocate a planned operations center in response to the ordinance's passage.
HB2 prevents N.C. cities and counties from passing their own anti-discrimination laws. It also bars transgender people from accessing the bathroom of the sex they identify with.
Not only are state Republicans refusing to back down, they are now saying PayPal is demonstrating a double standard in its actions, noting that the company was fined millions of dollars by the federal government for violating U.S. Treasury sanction rules against Cuba, Sudan, and Iran.
But the Charlotte Observer makes an important point about these criticisms: They were never voiced when PayPal first announced it was coming to the state:
There had been no mention of the violations less than a month earlier, when Gov. Pat McCrory announced PayPal’s Charlotte expansion – and $3.7 million in state incentives the company is now giving up.
North Carolina taxpayers have paid millions of dollars in incentives to other companies under federal scrutiny for working in Iran and Sudan. And exports to Cuba account for millions in revenue for North Carolina businesses.
Yet, Cuba has become a punching bag for supporters of the new state law, popularly called HB2.
The paper then proceeds to dig into the state's own ties with the three nations, which in total amounts to millions of dollars.
Some cracks do appear to be showing in the GOP's defense. Sen. Jeff Tarte, a Cornelius Republican who voted for the bill, said he’s willing to sit down with critics, the Observer reported.
“I don’t want men in girls’ showers; that’s not negotiable,” he said. “(But) you can’t have jobs not coming here. … So is (there) some language that allows us to … get between those two? We can’t ignore this. We need to be listening when these businesses have these kind of concerns.”
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.