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Braeburn to Continue N. Carolina Facility Despite HB2

North Carolina postcard

(Boston Public Library, Wikimedia Commons)

17 May 2016. Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, a developer of treatments for opioid addiction, will continue with its plans to build a research and manufacturing facility in North Carolina, despite its opposition to a recent state law overturning local ordinances prohibiting discrimination against the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) individuals. The company says the state’s Attorney General, who also opposes the law, advised the company that it can do more good by advocating from within rather than protesting through departure.

Braeburn’s proposed $20 million facility on Durham County, North Carolina is expected to employ 52 workers. The company says it reviewed its plans when the governor signed House Bill or HB2, a law that gives the state authority to overturn city or county laws providing access to school bathrooms or locker rooms based on gender identity, rather than the student’s biological sex. The law provoked a storm of protest both inside and outside the state, with a statewide poll at the end of April showing more voters opposed than in favor. Durham County, where the Braeburn facility is scheduled to be built, is a community that opposes the law, including the local chamber of commerce.

“We proudly stand with the growing list of national and local businesses who have spoken out against the injustice of HB2 and in favor of LGBT rights,” says Braeburn’s president Behshad Sheldon in a company statement. “We seriously considered moving our manufacturing facility to another state to send a clear message about the depth of our commitment.  Ultimately, however, we concluded that abandoning Braeburn’s job creation plans in Durham County would unfairly penalize a community that shares Braeburn’s commitment to equality.”

The statement says Sheldon met with the state’s governor Pat McCrory who supports HB2 and Attorney General Roy Cooper, who shares the company’s view that HB2 is unjust and needs to be overturned. Cooper’s advice prevailed that the company could have more influence on the subject if it stayed in North Carolina.

Sheldon says the company plans to use its influence to overturn the law, saying the company “will advocate for progressive public policy, do our part to help overturn HB2, and support those who share our commitments to diversity and non-discrimination.” Sheldon adds that “Battling stigma is central to our mission as we develop medicines for people with opioid addiction, we cannot and will not support stigmatization of any member of our society.”

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