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Apple CEO Tim Cook at the Pride Parade in San Francisco in 2015. Photo: Megan Hawkins/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

LGBT activists are reacting with anger and dismay at the prospect that Apple might build its new corporate campus in North Carolina. The state is still being boycotted by a number of organizations and state governments for not fully repealing a law limiting the civil rights of LGBT people.

Why it matters: Apple has been one of the strongest corporate allies of the LGBT political movement, and its potential decision is seen as opening the floodgates for others that want to set up shop in states with anti-LGBT laws.

After being elected on the promise to nullify a state law that severely limited the rights of LGBT people, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper accepted a compromise that kept in place a ban on cities passing their own protections for LGBT citizens.

"North Carolina is one of the most hostile states in the country to LGBTQ people, with no credible path to progress in the near term ... Under these conditions, it's hard to imagine that any company would decide to take their operations and thousands of employees there."
an LGBT activist speaking to Axios

Yes, but: Assuming it does choose North Carolina, Apple is likely to make the case that it can do more good as a part of the community than just as a highly vocal outsider. Apple will also likely point to its record of fighting for causes it believes in, including immigration issues and LGBT rights.

  • Of course, Apple isn't saying anything right now, since it isn't even confirming North Carolina as the likely site.

It's complicated: Officials at national LGBT groups were hesitant to talk publicly about Apple's move, both because they still hope Apple will change its mind and because the company has been a strong partner.

  • While many groups have been encouraging Amazon and Apple to shy away from North Carolina for their major expansions, some people have made the case that the companies could have a large impact by moving to a state without LGBT protections.

Among those in that camp is American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, whose company has strongly backed LGBT rights.

"I think we're more impactful here than we would be anywhere else," Parker told The Washington Post. Speaking about Amazon, he suggested that company might also want to consider going to a place where LGBT rights aren't fully protected. "My personal view is if they care about making a difference, they should go where they can make a difference."

Meanwhile: Those still hoping to get Apple to come to Northern Virginia are trying to make their case, although its unclear whether that region is even under serious consideration.

Virginia state delegate Danica Roem told Axios that Northern Virginia has close proximity to the federal government and two international airports, as well as an educated workforce. And, while the state still has work to do on LGBT issues, it is moving in the right direction.

"We should be rewarding states that are making steps toward progress instead of states where progress has stalled. You still have a problematic legislature in North Carolina that is clearly not amenable to any supportive LGBTQ legislation."
— Danica Roem who, in addition to being a passionate voice for bringing business to Virginia, is the only transgender person in a U.S. state legislature

Go deeper

28 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: More boycotts coming for Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Leaders of the Stop Hate For Profit social media boycott group are discussing whether to organize another campaign against Facebook in light of an explosive investigative series from The Wall Street Journal, Common Sense CEO Jim Steyer tells Axios.

The intrigue: Sources tell Axios that another group, separate from the Stop Hate For Profit organization, is expected to launch its own ad boycott campaign this week.

Democrats' dwindling 2022 map

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats are trying to unseat only about half as many Republican House members next year as they did in 2020, trimming their target list from 39 to 21.

Why it matters: The narrowing map — which reflects where Democrats see their best chance of flipping seats — is the latest datapoint showing the challenging political landscape the party faces in the crucial 2022 midterms.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
59 mins ago - Economy & Business

Evergrande's reassuring default

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

It's not a Lehman moment but it's still a very big deal. Chinese construction giant Evergrande looks set to default on its $300 billion of liabilities, in a move that has already had global market repercussions.

Why it matters: Evergrande is the first big test of the global financial system — and especially the Chinese financial system — since the pandemic-induced chaos of March 2020, when central banks around the world were forced to take unprecedented measures to prevent total collapse. So far, world markets seem to be coping just fine.

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