Today, HRC and Equality NC blasted North Carolina Republican leadership’s reckless refusal to allow a vote to fully repeal HB2 — the deeply discriminatory law that continues to inflict profound damage on the state’s people, reputation, and economy. In a letter sent to state lawmakers today, the North Carolina Sports Association warned that the NCAA will pull all of the state’s championship game bids through 2022 if HB2 is not immediately repealed.
“It’s far past time for a clean repeal of HB2. Unless they act immediately, Senator Phil Berger and Speaker Tim Moore will be directly responsible for North Carolina losing out on six years of NCAA events and hundreds of millions of dollars,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “Make no mistake, the Republican leadership’s reckless and stubborn refusal to act is forcing the NCAA decision to take action and protect their athletes, employees, and fans. North Carolinians should stand up with Governor Roy Cooper and demand a swift vote to put HB2 in the dustbin of history where it belongs.”
“HB2 has cost North Carolina every single day with businesses and events leaving a state that has written discrimination into law,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “We are now faced with the risk of losing NCAA championship games through 2022 because Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore will not allow a vote on a clean repeal bill. The economic damage already experienced because of HB2 is only the beginning, and the North Carolina legislature must stop the bleeding by immediately repealing HB2. Every day that passes with HB2 on the books will only cost the state exponentially more.”
In the letter, the North Carolina Sports Association warned lawmakers that the NCAA decision will cost the state at least another half a billion dollars in economic activity. In November 2016, Forbes estimated that the state had already lost hundreds of millions of dollars in business due to HB2.
The NCAA took a clear stand in September of last year against HB2 and moved all neutral-site 2016-2017 championship events out of the state due to the discriminatory law. When announcing that decision, the NCAA cited their commitment to an “inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans.” The NCAA had also previously announced that North Carolina cities no longer qualify to host NCAA events because HB2 ripped away any local LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws and uniquely requires anti-transgender discrimination. Standing up for the safety of its employees, players, and fans, the Atlantic Coast Conference followed the NCAA lead by moving championship games out of North Carolina.
The NBA also moved its 2017 All-Star Game out of the state and to New Orleans, Louisiana — a city with explicit LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections. That decision came after repeated warnings the league would move the event if the law remained on the books.
In November, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory became the only incumbent governor from either party to lose on election day specifically because he championed and signed HB2 into law. North Carolina polling released by HRC and Equality NC found that HB2 was the number one issue leading to Governor Pat McCrory’s defeat — the only incumbent governor from either party to lose on election day. The HRC and Equality NC survey found that 62 percent of voters opposed HB2, while only 30 percent supported the law. HB2 was also listed as the leading reason to vote against McCrory — with 57 percent citing the bill, 17 points above any other issue.