Post submitted by former HRC Communications Campaign Director Brandon Lorenz
Today, 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 and slammed Gov. Pat McCrory for sanctioning a series of attacks on the organization rather than working to repeal HB2.
“Governor McCrory is so blinded by his own prejudice that he would rather sanction attacks on the NCAA while it stands up for fairness and equality rather than fix the problem and repeal HB2,” said HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. “The NCAA sent a direct message that dangerous laws targeting student athletes, fans and employees won’t be tolerated. Governor McCrory showed the nation yesterday his misplaced priorities. Instead of attacking the NCAA for doing the right thing, he should immediately apologize for his over the top attacks and repeal HB2.”
"As a North Carolinian I'm saddened and frustrated by Pat McCrory's unwillingness to take responsibility,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “Months after he signed HB2, it is painfully clear that the worst anti-LGBT bill in the nation is hurting the Tarheel state every single day -- yet he does nothing. McCrory has tried to blame everyone for a bill that he alone signed. We need a real leader to step up and fix this situation, and McCrory refused to do that."
Since the NCAA announcement yesterday, Town of Cary officials have estimated the Governor’s refusal to repeal HB2 will cost $2 million. The NCAA’s announcement 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 lawmakers rammed 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 University men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski called the bill “embarrassing” and North Carolina State University men’s basketball coach Mark Gottfried said it “appalled” and “embarrassed” him.