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PayPal Drops Expansion Over LGBT Law in N.C.

(CN) - PayPal announced Tuesday that it is dropping a previously announced $3.6 million expansion in North Carolina due to a new state law that blocks local municipalities from adopting protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

In a statement, PayPal's President and CEO Dan Schulman said "The legislation recently enacted by the State of North Carolina that denies the equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal's mission and culture. PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.

"This decision reflects PayPal's deepest values and our strong belief that every person has the right to be treated equally, and with dignity and respect," the statement continued. "These principles of fairness, inclusion and equality are at the heart of everything we seek to achieve and stand for as a company. And they compel us to take action to oppose discrimination."

Schulman reiterated the company's views in a blog post.

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill at the center of the controversy into law on March 23. It was rushed through the state legislature by lawmakers who wanted to overturn an impending Charlotte ordinance that would have provided broad protections to the LGBT community in the state's largest city.

The new law pre-empts anti-discrimination ordinances passed by local municipalities and requires transgender individuals to use bathrooms assigned to their birth-gender.

Days later, a lesbian law school professor and two transgender people sued governor and others over the law, claiming that "by singling out LGBT people for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into state law, (the new law) violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution."

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper then announced his office won't defend a sweeping new state law that prevents local governments from protecting people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The state attorney general, who is a Democratic candidate for governor, on Tuesday called the measure signed into law last week a "national embarrassment."

"We are here because the governor has signed statewide legislation that puts discrimination in the law," Cooper said.

A representative of the governor's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on PayPal's decision.

Photo by Paul Wardein.

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