Cook County

Cook County Could Ban Business with States Over ‘Anti-LGBT Laws'

The Cook County Board of Commissioners will consider halting business with businesses and governments in North Carolina and Mississippi as a result of recent "anti-LGBT" laws

In response to legislation passed in North Carolina and Mississippi that has widely been described as “anti-LGBT”, Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle proposed measures to halt business with those states.

The measures would ban county business with the governments of North Carolina and Mississippi, as well as with businesses in those states.

“It is with great sadness that I see these ill-advised and ill-spirited laws being adopted around our Country,” Arroyo said. “They not only violate our Constitution, but they completely undermine the great efforts of unification, inclusion and understanding that the majority of our fellow Americans strive for.”

North Carolina passed legislation in March that centers around single-sex public restrooms and changing facilities in the state’s schools and public agencies.

The legislation is viewed as “anti-LGBT” because it requires individuals to use restrooms based on their sex at birth, not their sexual identity.

In April, the state of Mississippi passed legislation that allows discrimination based on religious beliefs and moral convictions.

Under the law, if an individual feels someone’s lifestyle is in violation of their beliefs and convictions, they are free to discriminate and decline service without penalty from the state. The law is largely believed to be targeted at the LGBTQ community.

Both laws have received a considerable amount of backlash.

Last week, PayPal cancelled plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte. The company also cancelled plans to invest $3.6 million in the area. 

Charles Barkley is also pushing the NBA to move the All-Star game from Charlotte.

Last week, Bruce Springsteen cancelled an upcoming North Carolina tour date in protest of the law.

"Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them," Springsteen said in the statement. "It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards."

In Mississippi, LGBT advocacy groups stood up against that state's "anti-LGBT" legislation.

"Freedom of religion is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans, but that freedom does not give any of us the right to harm or mistreat others," the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi said in a statement. "Legislators have gone out of their way to stigmatize and marginalize same sex couples by pushing this legislation. The Mississippi State Legislature should look for ways to bring Mississippians together, not divide us along religious lines.

The group also asked state legislators to "kill this divisive bill in conference."

The measures proposed by Arroyo and Preckwinkle will be heard by the Cook County Board of Commissioners Wednesday.

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