SWEEPING anti-LGBTI laws in the US states of North Carolina and Mississippi – termed “religious freedom” laws by Republican legislators – have provoked strong reactions from across the community.

Businesses, lawmakers, and sportspeople are among the groups to oppose the laws, which strip LGBTI people of anti-discrimination protections.

In the case of North Carolina, the new laws also force trans people to use bathrooms that align with the gender on their birth certificate.

In response, Paypal announced it would not proceed with plans to build a $US3.6 million ($4.7 million) global operations centre in Charlotte, North Carolina, which would have employed more than 400 people.

“The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture,” the company said in a statement.

“As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.”

Last week, the chief executive officers of over 80 major corporations, including Facebook and Google, sent North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory an open letter urging him to overturn the bill.

Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Washington Governor Jay Inslee this week banned all non-essential state-funded travel to Mississippi following that state’s enactment of a similar law.

Their executive orders bar all state-funded travel to Mississippi not essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety.

“This Mississippi law is a sad, hateful injustice against the LGBT community, and I will not allow any non-essential official travel to that state until it is repealed,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Basketball superstar Stephen Curry spoke out against the North Carolina law after the NBA threatened to move next year’s All-Star game from his home state.

“I knew I would be asked about my views on the situation in North Carolina and potential ramifications on next year’s All-Star Game in Charlotte, which I hope can be resolved,” Curry told the Mercury News.

“While I don’t know enough about the North Carolina law to comment more fully, no one should be discriminated against.

“As a Christian, I am taught that we are all equal in the eyes of God.”

Similar laws have been proposed in other deep south states such as Tennessee and Missouri.

In the state of Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a proposed bill under pressure from businesses and after the NFL suggested Georgia would be disqualified from hosting the Superbowl if it passed.

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