REI employees and members have asked for our perspective on a new law in North Carolina called “HB2” and similar, proposed laws in other states. In North Carolina, we have seven REI stores, over 400 employees and more than 450,000 members. The new law permits discrimination against LGBT people across the state and prohibits cities and counties from passing local laws to protect LGBT people from discrimination.
 
We want to be clear with all our stakeholders that REI opposes laws like this one. At REI, we are an inclusive and welcoming community of people who share a love of the outdoors – natural places that are for everyone.
 
North Carolina’s HB2 is intentionally exclusionary – it targets gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people by denying them basic legal protections that are rights of every citizen. This is not solely about who can and cannot go into which bathroom. This law has far broader impact. In plain words, the state of North Carolina provides no recourse to LGBT people who suffer discrimination by government, businesses, non-profit organizations and schools. That means our employees and members who are LGBT can be discriminated against in housing, employment, stores, restaurants, and even in parks and camp grounds.
 
The law goes even further by prohibiting any city or county from providing protection against discrimination to LGBT people. That means that our LGBT employees and members who had protection from discrimination under laws in effect in Asheville, Raleigh, and several other NC cities now have no protection under local or state law.
 
We join and commend other companies and organizations that have chosen to oppose the law in North Carolina and similar laws and proposals.
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