Um, you don’t want to wait a minute or two and see if Bright’s Bathroom Bill actually has a chance of passing?

I’m reacting to this rather preemptive action on the part of a businessman down in Charleston:

A senate bill that would outlaw transgender men and women from using the bathroom of

Anthony Watson

Anthony Watson

their choice has caused a Charleston-based company to decide to move to the West Coast.

Anthony Watson, CEO of Uphold, described himself as an “openly gay, British CEO.” He said the company will move its U.S. corporate headquarters from Charleston to Los Angeles. Uphold is a financial services company that says it handled $830 million in transactions since its founding in 2014.

“I have watched in shock and dismay as legislation has been abruptly proposed or enacted in several states across the union seeking to invalidate the basic protections and rights of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) U.S. citizens,” he said on the company’s website….

Talk about being on a hair trigger. You don’t want to wait a minute and see if the bill gets any traction at all, much less passes?

I hate to break it to this guy, but there’s a distinct possibility that there’s a lawmaker in California just as loony as Lee Bright who will propose a similar bill. Then what is he going to do? It’s a significant feature of representative democracy that people who have a different worldview from you get to vote, too — and elect people like them. So there’s no way to guarantee that someone won’t file a bill that you find unfair, unjust or abhorrent.

People file stupid bills all the time, for all sorts of crazy causes. The time to worry, or for that matter pass judgment on the state in question, is when it looks like it’s going to pass, and be signed into law.

I’m not saying that won’t happen here. It’s disturbing that the bill was just introduced a week ago today, and there’s a hearing on it going on at this very second, as I type this.

But I chalk that up to the committee being chaired by one of Bright’s three co-sponsors, Kevin Bryant. It remains to be seen how many, other than those four, would vote for such a bill.

So, you know, before you make a multi-million-dollar decision, you might want to wait a minute. That is to say, Uphold might want to hold up…

10 thoughts on “Um, you don’t want to wait a minute or two and see if Bright’s Bathroom Bill actually has a chance of passing?

  1. Bart

    Umm….someone might want to do more research on “Uphold” before jumping to conclusions and bemoaning the loss of jobs because of the threat of moving a so-called Charleston-based company to California. First of all, the individual making the threat rarely spends time in Charleston according to a local Charleston newspaper. He spends most of his time in California already. Second, not one of the individuals shown on the company website is located in Charleston. Third, the company does not have a business license under the listing of “Uphold”. Fourth, the company engages in the bitcoin trade and has ties to the Cayman Islands.

    When a faceless company with a president who does not frequent Charleston and when the faceless company does not have a Charleston business license and apparently does not have an office or physical presence in Charleston, why is this even news? How many employees are located in Charleston or even the Charleston area? How can moving the company to California be a loss when there has been no obvious gain to South Carolina, especially Charleston?

    This should be labeled BS and tossed in file 13.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Yeah, I was about to post this, but you beat me to it.

      Bart is referring to this piece in the P&C.

      “Uphold said it’s been based in Charleston since it was founded in 2014, but its website contains no address or telephone number for a South Carolina office. The website does disclose the physical addresses for its other locations in San Francisco, London, Shanghai and Portugal….None of the key executives highlighted on the Uphold website is based in Charleston, according to their LinkedIn profiles. The company does not have a business license with the city of Charleston. The Charleston Digital Corridor said Tuesday it has “had no contact” with Uphold.

      The company was started as a virtual currency business called Bitreserve by Internet entrepreneur and CNET founder Halsey Minor, who could not be reached for comment. It was registered in South Carolina in 2014 as Bitreserve HQ Inc. It changed its name last year to Uphold HQ Inc., according to a filing with the S.C. Secretary of State Office. Its registered agent is the Columbia office of Corporation Services Co., which many companies hire to file their paperwork when setting up new businesses.

      While still operating as Bitreserve, the company also was registered in the Cayman Islands, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

      Why Uphold picked Charleston for its corporate headquarters is unclear.”

      1. Mark Stewart

        The founder probably spent some time recovering there (from Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy and other assorted issues) and liked the place.

  2. Claus

    Moving from Charleston to Los Angeles, I wonder if stockholders agree to this move. Seems to me that this would be a financial mistake, unless real estate and wages have dropped recently in the Los Angeles area.

  3. Barry

    In totally UNRELATED news, UPHOLD has learned that the stock market might decline a bit more this week so they have decided to fold the company and will be opening a taco stand in May near Patriots Point.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    As to my assertion that it’s possible for an individual to pose extreme legislation in California, also…

    An alert reader notifies me that there’s already a proposal in California for a ballot initiative to “kill gays and lesbians.” It’s called the “Sodomite Suppression Act.”

    No, really — you can look it up


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