Dangerous and discriminatory South Carolina bill heads to hearing

 

Tomorrow on April 13, South Carolina Senate Bill 1203 will head to hearing within the state senate after there has been much controversy surrounding similar bills. This bill follows suit with discriminatory bills brought forward in states like Mississippi and North Carolina, and would prevent municipalities and schools from establishing protections that would allow transgender individuals from using sex-designated bathrooms. 

As we have seen in North Carolina and Mississippi, anti-LGBT bills have a direct impact upon business within their states; businesses including IBM, AT&T, Mass Mutual, Apple, Facebook, and Bank of America, have all voiced opposition for these bills.

"This isn't just about whether or not governors sign or veto these measures. When states even entertain the idea of discriminating against entire groups of people, it is bad for business. Most businesses do not want to locate in places where there are recurring attempts to discriminate against their employees." – Zeke Stokes, Vice President of Programs, GLAAD and South Carolina native, who is currently on the ground in his home state.

In a previous statement about the bill, Zeke said, "As a native South Carolinian, it's disheartening to see my home state seek to discriminate against friends and family, about whom I care so deeply. Governor Nikki Haley is exactly right when she says this bill is unnecessary. South Carolina legislators must protect all South Carolinians and stop this senseless attack on our LGBT neighbors."

Notably, GLAAD Board of Directors member Anthony Watson, the President and CEO of Uphold, a company that provides electronic financial services, has announced via an article titled, "Uphold: It’s Time To Accelerate Acceptance," that Uphold's headquarters will move from Charleston, South Carolina to Los Angeles, California. He attributes this directly to Senate Bill 1203, writing it is a "bill largely mirroring North Carolina's controversial law that blocks local governments from passing LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination ordinances. As such, we feel compelled to take action to oppose the discrimination being proposed in South Carolina and protect our LGBT employees."

When considering this move by Watson, it becomes clear that other businesses very well may follow suit. As more businesses, entertainment industry leaders, and on-the-ground advocates stand strongly against these discriminatory bills, we can begin to see a direct correlation between these legislative efforts and economic concerns within states that pass them.

Outside of businesses, many prominent individuals have voiced their opposition to anti-LGBT bills similar to S 1203. Celebrities like Ellen Degeneres, Miley Cyrus, and Bruce Springsteen have stood against discrimination in states like Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Politicians like Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo have followed suit, issuing official campaign statements about discriminatory bills or taking executive action against states that pass them, respectively. Additionally, South Carolina Governor Nikki Healy, a Republican, has called S 1203 unnecessary.

State legislatures that are considering discriminatory bills should become aware that their actions are not without consequences, and may directly determine how businesses will operate in their state.