CLEVELAND -- In an executive order, County Executive Armond Budish banned Cuyahoga County employees from any non-essential official travel to the State of North Carolina.
Budish's order is in response to the "Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act," which was passed on March 23. The act prohibits cities and other localities in North Carolina from passing anti-discrimination ordinances that protect lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) communities.
Cuyahoga County has adopted an Equity Plan, which ensures equal treatment for members of the LGBTQ communities.
"A major pillar of this administration is fairness and equity for all persons. We deplore the radical action recently taken by the state government of North Carolina, and we will not support such action with our tax dollars," said County Executive Budish. "Moreover, we invite those businesses that share our views, such as Pepsi, Hewlett-Packard, Google, Dow Chemical, IBM and Apple, to bring their business to a much more welcoming location, Cuyahoga County. That is directly contrary to the values that we hold in Cuyahoga County. We believe in fairness and equity and treating all people fairly with equity. I thought that was determined years ago nationally. Apparently North Carolina does not agree."
The fallout continues for North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory who is standing pat on his controversial law. The bill was in response to a Charlotte bill allowing transgender people to use the restroom of their choice.
"Well, I respect disagreement," said Governor McCrory. "The locker room we used down the hall here and downstairs was separated for boys and girls. And that's frankly a policy, and a standard that I think should remain."
"It's extreme and goes well beyond on dealing with bathrooms," said Budish. "It eliminates any legislation on any subject related to protecting LGBT individuals. It could affect housing. It could affect employment."
"That's the only reason we had that interaction with the state legislature to ensure that that expectation of privacy would remain in our high schools, in our universities and our community colleges," said Governor McCrory. "And for those who disagree with that basic norm, they have that decision to make."
Budish admits, employees don't normally travel to the North Carolina anyway, but says this is more emblematic.
"We don't want our taxpayer money spent to support a state that would take that position, but it is symbolic," said Budish. "We need to express our voice."
More people are expressing their voice. Cleveland's LGBT Center is also speaking out.
The Executive Order remains in effect until the Act is repealed or amended to allow local North Carolina jurisdictions to enact laws protecting LGBTQ communities from discrimination.