The Cable

Anti-Gay Law Has German Firm Saying ‘Nein’ to North Carolina

Deutsche Bank scuttles plans to add jobs in North Carolina due to the state's anti-gay law.


North Carolina’s controversial new law targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens has been widely condemned by Apple, the NBA, and Bruce Springsteen. Now, an international company has joined the chorus.

On Tuesday, Germany’s Deutsche Bank announced it would freeze plans to create 250 new jobs at its Cary, North Carolina, location after the state passed legislation limiting the ability of transgender people to use bathrooms or locker rooms by requiring citizens of the state to only use the facilities that match the gender listed on their birth certificates. The German bank employs about 900 people at its software application development center in Cary, and had announced the growth plans last September.

“We take our commitment to building inclusive work environments seriously,” John Cryan, chief executive of Germany’s largest bank, said in a statement Tuesday. “We’re proud of our operations and employees in Cary and regret that as a result of this legislation we are unwilling to include North Carolina in our U.S. expansion plans for now.”

The Deutsche Bank move could spur other German companies to follow suit — and that could have a surprisingly strong impact on North Carolina.

The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. says that German firms have created more than 30,000 jobs in North Carolina. German companies own $436 million in real estate there, and there are roughly 236 German subsidiaries in the state.

Yvonne Bendinger-Rothschild, executive director of the European-American Chamber of Commerce New York, told Foreign Policy Tuesday she expects some of these business to leave or stop investing in there because of the controversial new law.

“I think there definitely will be fallout over this,” she said. “This for many companies is also a corporate-social responsibility issue, which they committed to internationally on a corporate level, and something that their shareholders will be looking at.”

With the cancellation, Deutsche Bank joins PayPal, which scuttled plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte and invest $3.6 million in the facility. Springsteen has canceled a concert in the Tar Heel state because of the law. Apple, Facebook, American Airlines, the NBA, and Google have also condemned it. The mayors of Washington , DC, San Francisco, Seattle, New York City and Atlanta all have banned non-essential travel there.

Photo credit: SEAN GALLUP/Getty Images

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