March 27, 2017 at 11:57 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
AP: Anti-LGBT HB2 will cost North Carolina $3.76 billion
North Carolina, gay news, Washington Blade

North Carolina is saddled with nearly $4 billion in losses as a result of HB2. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The anti-LGBT law in North Carolina barring transgender people from using certain restrooms consistent with their gender identity will cost the state $3.76 billion as a result of economic boycotts over the course of a dozen years, an Associated Press analysis has found.

North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which has been on the books exactly one year as of Thursday, will the cost the state $3.76 billion after Gov. Pat McCrory signed it into law as a result of the cancellation of business expansions, performers nixing events and visitors boycotting the state.

The AP unveiled its analysis after the NCAA has warned North Carolina that it won’t play championship games in the state through 2022 if HB2 remains on the books, which would be a major economic blow to the state.

Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, said in a statement the AP analysis demonstrates HB2 has caused continued harm to the economic climate in North Carolina.

“Before I was an advocate, I worked in economic development, and I find this number is extraordinary,” Sgro said. “This number is extraordinary not just because it represents billions in economic harm, but because we know underneath there is an untold story of incredible damage that North Carolinians will suffer for decades to come if we don’t fully repeal HB2. It is frustrating, and must be infuriating to North Carolinians, that Phil Berger and Tim Moore cannot put aside their political egos and instead insist on inflicting this kind of harm on their constituents.”

HB2 bars municipalities in North Carolina from enacting pro-LGBT non-discrimination ordinances, undoing a recently enacted ordinance in Charlotte, and bars transgender people from using the restroom in schools and government buildings consistent with their gender identity.

Despite efforts from LGBT advocates and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to repeal the law, the Republican-controlled state legislature has refused to act and alternative proposals have been shot down by either side. One proposal Republican leaders floated last week was a “religious freedom” bill.

According to the AP, HB2’s supporters say its costs are insignificant given the economy is valued at more than $500 billion a year. Defenders of the anti-LGBT law reportedly say they’re fine with the costs if the law prevents sexual predators posing as transgender people from entering private spaces to molest women and girls — a threat thoroughly debunked as non-existent based on the history of other jurisdictions that have non-discrimination laws and have experienced no problems.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement the time has come for North Carolina to repeal House Bill 2 to end the economic hardship facing the state.

“In light of the AP’s jaw-dropping new economic analysis, every North Carolina lawmaker should have to answer a simple question: Is discrimination worth nearly $4 billion?” Griffin said. “In addition to the personal suffering this bill has caused LGBTQ people over the last year, it has already inflicted incredible damage upon the state’s economy. It’s time for lawmakers to fully repeal HB2 once and for all, because the price of their inaction is simply too great.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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