WASHINGTON, D.C.—In the last couple of weeks, three major sports organizations announced decisions to move events from North Carolina, directly citing House Bill 2 (HB2), also known as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act. The bill, which prohibits transgender people from using the restrooms and changing facilities consistent with their gender identities, also prevents cities or counties from adopting non-discrimination policies more inclusive than the state norm.
The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) released a statement explaining its decision to change locations for championship games. The statement says that this move “is the first step in demonstrating that the conference does not support laws which prevent communities from effectively protecting student-athletes and fans.”
LGBT advocates praised the decision and called once more upon Gov. Pat McCrory, who has steadfastly defended the legislation as a “commonsense” measure to protect vulnerable citizens.
“Where is Pat McCrory right now?” said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina and member of the North Carolina House of Representatives. “As our state suffers economically and communities are targeted for discrimination by the law, the governor does nothing.”
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin was even more direct:
“Lawmakers who continue to ignore the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians and business leaders demanding the discriminatory law be repealed do so at their own risk come November,” said Griffin.
This jab is not without justification. Gov. McCrory is currently campaigning for re-election and polls show him trailing behind opponent Roy Cooper, with one major issue being HB2.
The CIAA is not alone, of course. Aside from previously reported event cancellations by the NBA, ACC and many others, several other organizations have made similar announcements this week alone. The National Junior College Athletic Association is among them, saying on Oct. 3 that it will relocate its 2017 baseball championship away from Kinston, N.C.
The NJCAA referred to its mission statement’s emphasis on an “inclusive environment” for all involved in the championship.
“The current HB2 law in North Carolina poses specific challenges to the inclusive environment the NJCAA believes should not be in question at its national championships,” the organization’s statement said.
Yet another organization announced a similar decision. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) also reported its 2016 Cross Country National Championships is relocating from Charlotte’s McAlpine Creek Park, where the event was also held last year. This year’s event was slotted for Nov. 19, so the NAIA has short time to find another venue.
Nevertheless, “The NAIA Council of Presidents made this decision out of concern that the state’s HB2 legislation creates an atmosphere where discrimination potentially exists for some NAIA student-athletes and personnel,” the association stated.
Despite the ever-growing list of organizations, businesses and private citizens protesting HB2, lawmakers in the state continue to procrastinate addressing the issue or voting on a repeal. Federal court cases are pending to decide the fate of this controversial law.