By Stephanie Crets

Whether you agree or disagree with the new “Bathroom Law” in North Carolina, it’s clear that it is having an impact on retailers in the state. The controversial law prohibits people from using bathrooms that don't match the sex indicated on their birth certificates. Opponents argue this discriminates against the transgender community and perpetuates discrimination against the LGBT.

As a result of the bill, signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory, opponents are boycotting retailers and corporations all over the state. Last week, PayPal announced that it was withdrawing plans to build a $3.6 million operations center in Charlotte, N.C., that would have created more than 400 jobs for residents. There have even been outcries in the media about other states following suit: The Walking Dead, Disney and Marvel Studios said they plan to pull out of Georgia for any future production if a similar law goes into effect there.

"Becoming an employer in North Carolina, where members of our teams will not have equal rights under the law, is simply untenable," PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said in a statement. "The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal's mission and culture."

 The governors of New York, Washington and Vermont issued bans on most official state travel to North Carolina, along with the mayors of San Francisco, Seattle and New York. This amounts to less tourism in the state and fewer tourists spending their hard-earned money in North Carolina’s restaurants and shops.

Companies are losing money  all over North Carolina, and retailers – especially mom-and-pop stores – are feeling the brunt of this. Boycotts cause retailers to lose money, which in turn makes them unable to pay their workers and thus, more jobs are lost. Not being welcome in the bathroom of their choosing creates a ripple effect that causes people of the LGBT community possibly to feel unwelcome in every establishment in the state – and worry that, potentially, the law will expand outside the bathroom to stores, restaurants, workplaces and more.

It’s a slippery slope that could prove disastrous for anyone trying making a living as a retailer, especially if you oppose the law. In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Linda-Marie Barrett, owner of Malaprops Bookstore/Café in Asheville, N.C., writes, “We’re being made to pay a price for a law we vehemently oppose, as artists, businesses and government officials have begun to boycott North Carolina. Our store, too, is being boycotted. Customers from other states tell us they won’t visit until the law is no more.”

What will be the long-term impact on North Carolina’s retailers, restaurants and corporations if the state doesn’t repeal the law? Only time will tell. 

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