From a distance, it looks like a normal welcome sign.
But a new billboard near the South Carolina border in Polk County, N.C., is drawing attention in both local and national media for its satirical message.
“Welcome to North Carolina,” the sign reads. “Due to our stance on LGBT rights, please set your clock back 100 years.”
The billboard was put up by Planting Peace, a non-profit organization that has as its mission “spreading peace in a hurting world.”
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The group says the billboard is designed as a direct message to state legislators.
“When North Carolina and other legislators pass anti-LGBT laws and speak anti-LGBT rhetoric, they are sending a direct message to our LGBT family that they are somehow less than, broken, and not equal under the law,” the group said in a press release.
“In response to North Carolina passing of HB2, Planting Peace has constructed a message to North Carolina legislators and the anti-LGBT movement.”
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A photo of the billboard posted to the Tyron Daily Bulletin’s Facebook page has been shared nearly 5,000 times since Saturday, and has kicked off a spirited debate about the sign’s message and intended audience.
“If you don’t like how NC’s law reads, then please move!! Do me a favor!!” one comment read.
“Going back 100 years sounds like a great idea. The world was a better place and people had a lot more sense than they do now,” reads another.
The law passed last month overrules LGBT anti-discrimination measures passed by local governments. It also excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from the state’s anti-discrimination policy and prevents people from filing employment discrimination lawsuits in state courts.
Champions of the law have rallied around a provision requiring transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate, saying the law is needed to promote public safety.
But many business leaders and other public figures disagree. PayPal reversed plans to open a 400-employee operation centre in Charlotte, and more than 130 corporate CEOs signed a letter urging the law’s repeal. A number of states and cities have restricted public employee travel to the state.
READ MORE: North Carolina congressman labels Springsteen a ‘bully’ for cancelling concert
Meanwhile, two North Carolina craft breweries are making a “protest beer” in opposition to the law.
Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough and Ponysaurus Brewing Company in Durham are leading the effort announced this week. They say 30 other breweries are pledging resources.
They’re naming the beer “Don’t Be Mean to People, A Golden Rule Saison.” It will be made in Durham with North Carolina ingredients and will go on sale in May.
Profits from the beer will be donated to LGBT advocacy groups Equality NC and QORDS.
Several performers, including Bruce Springsteen, have cancelled concerts in North Carolina as a protest against the law. Bryan Adams cancelled a show in Mississippi to protest against a similar law passed in that state.
However, singer Jimmy Buffet says he’ll go ahead with two scheduled shows in North Carolina even though he thinks the state enacted a “stupid law.”
-With files from the Associated Press