Gay rights groups to Amazon: 'Skip over us'

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Gay rights advocacy groups are calling on Amazon to reconsider nine cities on its list of potential sites unless there are significant changes to state law.

The nationwide campaign is called "No gay? No way!"

The groups say enough isn't being done to protect residents from discrimination.

"Unfortunately, North Carolina does not have some of the crucial protections," said Equality NC Spokesperson Ben Graumann.

Non-profits want a complete repeal of the controversial House Bill 2. A compromise bill did pass in the spring, but it still gives the General Assembly power over bathroom laws until 2020.

"There's people who want to move to this state and they have concerns that they're moving to a state that they might not feel safe as where they come from," said Graumann.

Leaders say Amazon would be the largest employer in the state and the biggest investment a company has ever made in North Carolina.

The online retail giant is preparing to spend $5 billion on its second headquarters and is going to hire 50,000 people, which is about as many people who work right now in Research Triangle Park.

The company wants a city with a business-friendly environment, highly educated labor pools, strong transportation options, and good quality of life

Amazon has also said equality is a core value and CEO Jeff Bezos is a champion in the LGBTQ community.

He was awarded the Human Rights Campaign's 2017 Equality Award.

Bezos said during his acceptance speech, "We want our employees and the communities where we operate to embrace that we're all human, we're all different, and we're all equal."

Other companies have pulled out of North Carolina based on our laws. In 2016, PayPal pumped the brakes on plans to open a global operations center because of the so-called "bathroom bill."

The Amazon proposal was put together by several regional leaders.

"The Research Triangle region, remains dedicated to creating an environment that is welcoming to all individuals. As a community, we stand against discrimination in all forms and value the diversity in our region. Our region's growth and success depends upon attracting and retaining top talent and companies. These companies value diversity, inclusion, and equality - values that the Triangle have embraced for many years. Our commitment to those that join us from around the U.S. and the world remains the same; all are welcome here," said Ryan Combs and the Regional Economic Development Team

Amazon is going to make its final decision within the year.
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