UK government has ‘raised concerns’ with North Carolina over anti-LGBT law

Representatives of the UK government have directly raised concerns with state leaders in North Carolina over its anti-LGBT law.

The state has lost a string of big investment ventures over Governor McCrory’s decision to sign HB 2 – which voided all local ordinances protecting LGBT rights, bans transgender people from using their preferred bathroom, and permits businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on the grounds of religious belief.

McCrory continues to insist the changes are “common sense”, despite legal action threatening to cost the state millions, combined with thousands of job losses.

UK Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire confirmed that representations had been made on behalf of the UK government in North Carolina.

Labour MP and shadow equalities minister Cat Smith had written to “ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [Philip Hammond] if he will make representations to his US counterpart on LGBT rights in North Carolina and Mississippi”.

The FCO’s Minister of State Mr Swire replied: “Our Consul General in Atlanta raised our concerns with the North Carolina Commerce Secretary on 19 April.

“We have amended our Travel Advice for the United States to reflect legislative changes on LGBT rights in North Carolina and Mississippi .

“This Government is opposed to all forms of discrimination. We are committed to ensuring that all LGBT people are free to live their lives in a safe and just environment.”

In a snub to the US, the UK Foreign Office travel advice was updated just days before a visit from Barack Obama, to warn LGBT travellers of the dangers post by the wave of new anti-LGBT legislation in the US.

President Obama has come out strongly against the laws – but given Republicans control Congress as well as the majority of state legislatures and governorships, he is unable to actually curtail the push.