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ACC Follows NCAA Lead in Moving Championship Games Out of North Carolina Over Anti-LGBTQ HB2 Law

Today, HRC and Equality NC, the statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for LGBTQ North Carolinians, hailed the Atlantic Coast Conference’s decision to stand up for the safety of its employees, players, and fans by moving championship games out of North Carolina due to the state’s anti-LGBTQ HB2 law.

The ACC announced: “As members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the ACC Council of Presidents reaffirmed our collective commitment to uphold the values of equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination. Every one of our 15 universities is strongly committed to these values and therefore, we will continue to host ACC Championships at campus sites. We believe North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values, and as a result, we will relocate all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year. All locations will be announced in the future from the conference office.”

“In standing up for LGBTQ equality, the ACC, the NCAA, and the NBA are all standing on the right side of history. Governor McCrory and state lawmakers should work swiftly to repeal HB2 and bring back championship games to North Carolina,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The fact that Governor McCrory and other lawmakers continue to play politics with discrimination is inexcusable, enormously costly, and simply wrong. The people of North Carolina deserve better and have a chance to make their voices heard November 8.”

“On Monday it was the NCAA. Last month it was the NBA. Today, the ACC – home conference to many of our beloved teams – will take their marquis events out of North Carolina,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “It has never been more clear than it is right now – HB2 is hurting our state every minute that it remains law. It’s hurting our people, our reputation, and our economy. I’m calling on Pat McCrory today – accept responsibility for the legislation you signed. It’s crystal clear that HB2 is bad for us. Stop playing the blame game and clean up this mess you’ve made of our state, because we cannot afford to wait any longer.”

The ACC announcement today follows the NCAA’s decision on Monday to stand up for LGBTQ equality by moving all 2016-2017 championship events out of the state of North Carolina due to HB2. Since the NCAA announcement, Town of Cary officials have estimated the Governor’s refusal to repeal HB2 will cause them to lose out on $2 million in direct visitor spending in Cary alone. In their decision for the move, the NCAA cited their commitment to an “inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans.”  Citing the hostile environment created by the anti-LGBTQ law, the NBA also previously announced it is moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of the state because, costing North Carolina an estimated $100 million in All-Star Game related profits.

Recognizing the importance of creating a positive and conducive environment for business, in February, the Charlotte City Council passed city-wide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. While city leaders sent a clear message that discrimination has no place in Charlotte, in response, Gov. McCrory and state lawmakersrammed HB2 into law and doubled down on discrimination.

The North Carolina General Assembly adjourned its short session in July after refusing to repeal HB2, and it is not scheduled to reconvene until January — leaving tens of thousands of people at risk for discrimination and harm over the months to come. Lawmakers made only one tweak to the deeply discriminatory law, restoring the right to sue in state court based on the limited number of characteristics that were already protected by state law. Despite widespread opposition to HB2, the General Assembly has been unwilling to even consider repealing the substance of the discriminatory law, including its ban on transgender people accessing restrooms consistent with their gender identity in government offices and schools, and its removal of municipalities’ ability to pass LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination laws and minimum wage ordinances.

The economic fallout from HB2 continues to mount as companies concerned with protecting their consumers and employees have moved conventions, trainings, operations, and productions out of state. In the more than five months since Gov. McCrory and state lawmakers rammed HB2 into law, the outcry has continued to grow:

  • More than 200 major CEOs and business leaders signed an open letter calling for full repeal of HB2 — including many of North Carolina’s largest employers.
  • Major film studios and corporations, from PayPal to Deutsche Bank, have stopped investments in the state because of the new law’s threat to employees and consumers. Conventions have withdrawn from the state, taking substantial revenue with them.
  • Prior to the NBA, NCAA, and CAA decisions, the Tar Heel State had already taken a hit of at least $329.9 million in lost business, and in taxpayer money used to defend the measure — including funding Gov. Pat McCrory’s road trips to explain why he signed discrimination into law.
  • Artists including Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Dead & Company, and Cyndi Lauper have spoken out.
  • In May, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit in federal court, stating that HB2’s state-mandated discrimination against transgender people, including government workers and students, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Violence Against Women Act of 2011.
  • Joined by 68 major companies, HRC filed an amicus brief in support of DOJ’s effort to block some of the most egregious and discriminatory components of HB2.
  • Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called the bill “embarrassing” and North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried said it “appalled” and “embarrassed” him.