Signs Promote Open for Business in Wake of HB 2 Controversy

Companies take matters in their own hands

CHARLOTTE, NC — Companies across the Queen City are putting up signs saying “Always Welcome Charlotte.”

The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority the rolled out the slogan as businesses and events are threatening to pull plans because of the controversial House Bill Two.

“We have no control over what lawmakers do, but we do have control of how we convey our message out to the community,” said the Westin’s Director of Sales and Marketing David Montgomery.

The hotel is one of the first to hoist a sign that says Charlotte Open for Business Open for All.

Since HB 2 passed, it’s lost 25,000 room bookings and $5 million from companies and events canceling plans in Charlotte. They argue the new law does not protect the LGBT community from discrimination.

“So, we had to take it upon ourselves to be more proactive to promote the destination, promote the hotel as both embracing diversity and inclusive,” said Montogmery.

The slogan is dotted around Uptown at the Epicenter, the Convention Center and restaurants.

Pastors at a conference hosted by the Southern Evangelical Seminary didn’t think twice about still coming to Charlotte.

“If they want to put up a signs that say that they are an LGBT friendly business, that’s their right,” said Pastor Dr. Richard Land. “And I’ll also protect the right of people to say they don’t want gender neutral bathrooms.”

The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority says it rolled it out to “…speak directly to the individuals making travel decisions to let them know that Charlotte still greatly values their business…”

The LGBT Chamber of Commerce says businesses leaving Charlotte is proof the law makes it difficult for companies to recruit workers.

“Charlotte is really stepping up, showing support, and regardless of what the states talking about, we want to make people feel welcome here,” said LGBT Chamber President Melissa Morris.

Hospitality workers at the Westin say HB 2 has led to cancellations all the way into 2020.

“So, this impact is really gonna play out for us for several years,” said Montgomery.

The North Carolina Values Coalition has a list of businesses who support HB 2. To see that list, click here.