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North Carolina's beer industry has a message for the governor: Hate has no place in their state.
In response to House Bill 2, the controversial law that forces trans people to use the public restroom that does not correspond with their gender identity, the state's Wedge Brewing Company has begun printing "#F*CK HB2" on its beverages. The can of the company's popular Iron Rail IPA, features the hashtag printed on the bottom of the can. It's designed to look like a serial number.
HB 2, which was introduced and signed into law in less than 12 hours on March 23, also rescinds all existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances, prohibits new ones, and bars residents from suing for discrimination in state court.
According to Erik Lars Myers, founder of the Hillsborough-based Mystery Brewing Company, the beer industry protest is both a "means to an end and a social statement."
"We've seen businesses, municipalities, and even rock legends from around the country punish North Carolina for passing this law," Myers said in a statement. "We've seen business expansions and job opportunities pull out of the state. We see that our communities are being harmed by this action." He further added: "We didn't feel like HB2 represented us as businesses or as residents of North Carolina."
In April, over 40 local companies announced that they would be releasing a limited-edition brew to raise money for local LGBT non-profits, including Equality North Carolina and Queer Oriented Radical Days of Summer (QORDS), a summer camp specifically for LGBT youth. The beer, called "Don't Be Mean to People, A Golden Rule Saison," will be available locally in May.
The business backlash to HB 2 in North Carolina has been massive. After the bill's passage, 160 companies condemned the bill, with PayPal and Deutsche Bank pulling out of million-dollar expansions in the Tar Heel State. According to UCLA's Williams Institute, North Carolina stands to lose $4.8 billion each year in lost revenue and -- potentially -- federal funding if HB 2 is not repealed.
The state announced on Monday that it would be filing a lawsuit against the Obama administration to challenge Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, and sex, which the Department of Justice has said extends to gender identity. Until the matter is decided in a federal court, the administration has stated that -- as of now-- they will not deny the state education funding in response to HB 2.