A handful of businesses and associations led the way pulling out of North Carolina in protest and predicting economic doom for the State when HB2 passed back in 2016. Aided by the media frenzy other businesses and states joined the cacophony of naysayers and Governor McCrory and North Carolina legislators began to panic. A year later the General Assembly abandoned HB2.
Five years later, corporate activists and Wall Street firms are leveraging their resources to pressure lawmakers on everything from voting reform and gun sales to social justice laws and women’s sports. I have looked back at HB2 and published a report: The Hidden Economic Story Behind North Carolina's HB2.
NC Values Coalition consistently said that HB2 was enacted to protect privacy, safety, and freedom for people and business owners to live and work according to their beliefs. The report clearly shows that in no way did HB2 depress the economy or business successes of North Carolina. In hindsight, it is clear that threats of economic doom were simply used by the LGBTQ community and some willing corporate allies to advance an agenda. Once you are aware of facts, you can look and see the playbook being used across the nation.
Hindsight is 20/20. It is clear that the fight over HB2 was never about economics. The economic disaster prophesied by the LGBTQ activists and Corporate America never occurred. Businesses didn’t engage in a mass boycott of the State. While Diversity Officers pushed a public narrative, the corporations quietly purchased land, invested in infrastructure, and continued to hire North Carolina’s brightest and best university students to help their bottom line. Not one company that was doing business in North Carolina before HB2 was passed pulled out and moved elsewhere. Economic Armageddon didn’t happen. Rather, the battle over HB2 was about the perception of harm, the saber-rattling of a pubescent cancel culture, and the advancement of the LGBTQ agenda to transform American values. If HB2 had any negative impact on the State’s economy and specifically direct tourism spending, the impact was too small to be detected by all available data.
In the end, the NCAA returned. The All-Stars played. The musical artists and celebrities rebooked their shows. The activists found a new target.
In today’s world of moral relativism, it is true as one writer has stated, “Business practices help both to define and reflect our values.” Allies in Corporate America transformed by the LGBTQ lobby, served as the perfect Goliath to argue the moral case against the “injustices” of HB2. Will politicians continue to be led into the fox’s lair by big business and the “values” of liberal activists, or will our elected leaders take a stand for the values they profess? Five years after HB2, there is abundant evidence that elected leaders in North Carolina and across America should refuse to cower to big business and their vacuous threats of economic doom; our leaders should represent the people who elected them, not the corporate bullies who are manipulated by liberal activists.