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Posted on Apr 8, 2016 |

Cuyahoga County Cancels Hypothetical Travel to North Carolina

Cuyahoga County Cancels Hypothetical Travel to North Carolina

A photo of Armond Budish from the Cuyahoga County website.

A photo of Armond Budish from the Cuyahoga County website.

In office only since January, Cuyahoga County’s County Executive Armond Budish issued an executive order banning non-essential travel to North Carolina Wednesday, at the same time inviting businesses to locate or relocate in the “much more welcoming” county that includes Cleveland.

 

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Budish followed the lead of Progressive mayors in New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle by canceling hypothetical future travel to the state by county employees because of the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act signed into law this week by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. The Act says that men’s and women’s bathrooms and changing rooms in state buildings are reserved to people of that sex, unless a person has had a so-called “sex change” operation and has also had his or her birth certificate changed.

 

The Act applies only to public facilities; private businesses and organizations can make their own bathroom and changing room rules. It was written because an ordinance in Charlotte would have allowed people to use the bathroom for the sex they claimed to “identify as,” regardless of how they were dressed or what medical or psychological treatments they had received. The ordinance was illegal under North Carolina’s legal structure.

 

Several international businesses, including Google and IBM, called for the Act’s repeal and online payment transaction company PayPal, which recently announced it is extending services to Cuba, cancelled a planned expansion to Charlotte over what the CEO called “the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.”

 

PayPal operates in numerous countries where homosexual acts are outlawed, including Nigeria and Yemen, and where women are not accorded equal legal rights with men, including Saudi Arabia.

 

Official statement issued by Armond Budish’s office:

 

Cleveland, Ohio – In an Executive Order dated April 5th, 2016, County Executive Budish stated that no officer or employee of Cuyahoga County is authorized to approve 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 23rd. The act prohibits cities and other localities in North Carolina from passing antidiscrimination 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.”

 

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.

 

Citing a plan he said “ensures equal treatment for members of the LGBTQ communities,” Budish said the county “deplores action recently taken by the state governor of North Carolina” and invites “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.”

The order is a symbolic act; according to the Plain Dealer, no county travel had been planned to North Carolina.

Only Cuyahoga County’s second Executive, Budish, a Democrat, served four terms as a state representative for Ohio’s 8th district, one as the Speaker of the House and two as Minority Leader, where he was reliably liberal presence. In 2010 he caused a brief controversy by refusing to allow the National Right to Life Oratory Contest winner to receive an honorary resolution on the House floor, a decision he later reversed.

A consumer and elder law attorney, he is the founder of law firm Budish, Solomon, Steiner, & Peck, He wrote a law column for the Plain Dealer for 24 years and hosted a television program for seniors, Golden Opportunities, for 16 years.

Budish is the only Ohio municipal leader to have canceled travel to North Carolina.

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