WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) and Equality NC, the statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for LGBTQ North Carolinians, hailed the NCAA's decision to stand up for LGBTQ equality by moving all 2016-2017 championship events out of the state of North Carolina due to the anti-LGBTQ HB2 law. In their decision for the move, the NCAA cited their commitment to an "inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans."
"The NCAA just sent a clear message to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and state lawmakers that it will not tolerate hateful laws targeting student athletes, fans, and employees," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "Every day that HB2 remains on the books, countless people across North Carolina are at risk of real harm. NCAA President Mark Emmert has shown tremendous leadership by taking a bold stand for equality in the face of discrimination. It's long past time state lawmakers repealed this vile law, and if they don't, the majority of voters opposed to HB2 will ensure they pay the price in November."
"The hits keep coming thanks to Governor McCrory and the General Assembly leadership," said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. "From Charlotte to Greensboro to Raleigh and everywhere in between, it has become clear that the shadow HB2 has cast on North Carolina is hurting our economy, our reputation, and our people every day. Pat McCrory clearly knew that signing HB2 would not just endanger LGBT North Carolinians, but would cost us business, tourism, and events like this. The answer: we must repeal HB2 and we must have real leadership in the Governor's office in 2017."
Prior to today's decision, the NCAA had previously announced that North Carolina cities no longer qualified to host NCAA events because HB2 ripped away any local LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws. The NCAA's announcement today follows the NBA's recent decision to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of the state because of HB2, costing North Carolina an estimated 100 million dollars in All-Star Game related profits. Citing the hostile environment created by the anti-LGBTQ law, and after repeated warnings the league would move the event if the law remained on the books, the NBA announced it was moving the game out of Charlotte after state lawmakers failed to repeal the measure.
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 already were 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 and NCAA 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.