The members of Pearl Jam say North Carolina would be a better place without its new anti-LGBT law, so they’re canceling this week’s concert there and asking fans to support a repeal of the measure.
“It is with deep consideration and much regret that we must cancel the Raleigh show in North Carolina on April 20th,” says a statement posted by the band on its website Monday.
The new law, House Bill 2, “is a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens,” the statement says. “The practical implications are expansive and its negative impact upon basic human rights is profound. We want America to be a place where no one can be turned away from a business because of who they love or fired from their job for who they are.”
The law nullifies LGBT-inclusive municipal antidiscrimination ordinances, while preventing cities and counties from enacting new ones. It also bars transgender people from using the restrooms, locker rooms, and other single-sex facilities that match their gender identity, if those facilities are in government buildings, including public schools. And it prohibits residents from filing discrimination suits in state court as well as barring municipalities from setting a higher minimum wage than the state.
On their site, the members of Pearl Jam ask fans to sign an Equality North Carolina petition calling for the repeal of HB 2. They also note that they are contributing to Equality NC, the NAACP of North Carolina, the LGBT Center of Raleigh, and QORDS.
“We must take a stand against prejudice, along with other artists and businesses, and join those in North Carolina who are working to oppose HB2 and repair what is currently unacceptable,” the statement continues.
Other artists who have canceled shows in North Carolina in protest of HB 2 include Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, and Boston. Some, such as Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran, Mumford and Sons, and comedian Joel McHale, have taken a different approach, going on with their performances while speaking out against the law and/or donating proceeds to charity.
At least 160 businesses have voiced opposition to the law, and Deutsche Bank and PayPal both canceled expansion plans in the state. And at least nine cities and four states have banned government-funded employee travel to North Carolina.