Over There, I left the following comment in reference to boycotts of North Carolina in response to their Bathroom Bill:

Not bothered by Apple and PayPal, and believe it is entirely appropriate for them to hold US states to a higher standard than foreign countries. For the most part.

The governors and state legislatures trying to get into the act with “unnecessary travel”, though, seem mostly to be preening and showboating.

The reference to PayPal is that they chose not to open up a data center in Charlotte in response to the Bathroom Bill. The governors and state legislatures are choosing to “restrict unnecessary travel” to North Carolina (and, presumably, any state that passes a law they believe crosses a line. Most of the conversation that followed in the thread involved the Double Standard. I said my piece there and you can read that thread. I wanted to jot a quick note about why PayPal didn’t bother me, while state governments do.

A couple months ago, I probably wouldn’t have thought much of it, but I thought this piece made some good points. Which in turn got me thinking about “unnecessary travel” and why states are supporting it to begin with. Would my wife have to skip a training conference in North Carolina? I… sort of doubt it. So what’s unnecessary? How much effort is going to have to go in to sorting it out? Have they really even thought about it? Maybe I’m being unfair and they have.

It’s not exactly a public/private distinction. If a governors’ association decided to hold their conference in Richmond instead of Raleigh, I would largely respond the way I do to PayPal. The tangibility of declining to do a particular thing in a particular state is pretty clear cut. There are a lot of good alternatives for places to hold a conference or build an office center. So I get what they’re doing, and why, and so it seems less showboatty. It’s tangible, the costs are easier to measure. On the other hand, I can imagine states quietly approving the vast majority of travel as “necessary” while retaining their headlines for Goodthink.

My view on the bill is general, but not emphatic opposition. Attempts to portray the bathroom issue as clear-cut bigotry aside, it’s not an uncomplicated issue. Indeed, opponents of the bill themselves don’t always have their arguments straight. When Houston was going to pass the opposite bill (forbidding business from forcing people to go to the restroom in accordance with their genitalia) I read simultaneous arguments for the righteousness of the bill doing X and that X is a strawman argument that the bill doesn’t even do. The discussion has landed on the former, though, and thus far at least it doesn’t appear that there have been any problems. My current inclination is to let businesses do what they wish (with the possible requirement that they allow a unisex option).

Some have taken North Carolina to task for being anti-local government, but that argument doesn’t really stick with me. This does seem like the sort of thing that is appropriately (though perhaps not exclusively) dealt with at a state level. Since it deals with conflicting rights, I can understand why if you want it (whichever “it”) in Charlotte you would also want it in Podunk, and vice-versa, and given travel having different rules in every municipality are complicated.

Category: Statehouse

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2 Responses to A Quickjot on Bathroom Bills & Their Consequences

  1. Guy says:

    Over Where?

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