Atlanta Mayor bans travel to North Carolina

- Atlanta's Mayor has joined growing list of municipal officials and company heads voicing opposing to North Carolina's new law that prevents specific anti-discrimination rules for LGBT people for public accommodations and restroom use.

The new law blocked Charlotte's rules and prevented other local governments from approving similar ordinances. And government agencies of all kinds must now require people who use multi-stall public restrooms to use the one that corresponds with their biological sex.

Mayor Kasim Reed banned all non-essential travel to North Carolina on Monday. That statement released Monday reads:

“As a result of Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to sign discriminatory and unnecessary legislation into law, effective today I am directing all City departments to stop non-essential, publicly-funded employee travel to the State of North Carolina.

“I extend my support to Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, who worked to enhance protections for the city’s LGBT population, as well as to the LGBT residents of North Carolina. Every person, regardless of their gender, gender expression or sexuality is a valued member of our community.”

Mayor Reed, who was a very vocal opponent of Georgia's religious freedom bill, joins several other city and state leaders voicing their concern on the passage of North Carolina's new law.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and Boston's city council also last week banned government-connected travel to North Carolina as a sign of opposition to the law. Similar travel bans have been issued by the governors of Washington, New York and Connecticut and by other cities.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton sent a letter on Saturday banning state employees from nonessential travel to North Carolina because of the law. He directed all state workers to stop all nonessential travel to North Carolina for conferences or other official state business until further notice.

The Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina released Friday the names of 10 company executives that have signed on to a letter criticizing the law and seeking its repeal, bringing the number of names to more than 120. New executives include those from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Qualcomm and EMC Corp.

Pepsi-Cola, which traces its roots to North Carolina where it was created in the late 1890s by New Bern pharmacist Caleb Bradham, also joined the long list of companies opposing the passage of the bill. PepsiCo's annual shareholder meetings have been held in New Bern in the past several years.

Separately Friday, the venture capital arm of Google's parent corporation confirmed it won't invest in North Carolina startup businesses while the law is in place. GV spokeswoman Jodi Olson cited written comments by CEO Bill Maris in which he asked his firm's partners to flag possible North Carolina investments because he's "not comfortable deploying dollars into startups there until the voters there fix this." The move was first reported by Re/code, a tech-focused news site.

NCAA President Mark Emmert says he has spoken to North Carolina's governor about the state's new law excluding LGBT people from antidiscrimination protections, making clear if it remains in place it will affect the state's chances to host major college athletic events

Supporters of the law say hundreds of businesses support the law and have signed on to their own letter praising McCrory and the legislature.

The law, approved by the Republican legislature and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, responded to a Charlotte City Council ordinance approved in February that would have extended protections to gays and lesbians as well as bisexual and transgender people while at hotels, restaurants and stores. Charlotte also would have allowed transgender people to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity.

Lawmakers went into a one-day special session to pass their new law. McCrory has said overturning Charlotte's anti-discrimination ordinance was meant to protect the privacy of those who expect to share locker rooms and bathrooms with people who have the same anatomy.

McCrory and a key lawmaker this week suggested some changes are possible to the law. But Senate leader Phil Berger, has no appetite for them because "an overwhelming majority of North Carolinians we've heard from support" the law, spokeswoman Shelly Carver said in a release. The General Assembly reconvenes April 25.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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