If North Carolina had any hopes that businesses will forget about the state’s anti-LGBTQ law passed last year and bring jobs back to the state, at least some of those hopes were dashed over the weekend by a major sports organization.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, which is part of the NCAA and the host of Charlotte’s second largest annual event (after the CIAA basketball tournament), said it will continue moving its championship football game out of Charlotte until North Carolina repeals the state’s anti-LGBTQ law.
The championship game had been played in Charlotte every year since 2010, according to the Associated Press. The ACC already moved its latest game, played in December, out of the city after the NCAA’s broader announcement that it was pulling sports events out of the state in response to HB2, the state’s anti-LGBTQ law.
“If something changes in the state of North Carolina, that would be welcome,” Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford told the AP. “Our presidents made what they believe is a principled decision in that regard as to where our championships should be held and shouldn’t. I don’t see that principle changing.”
The follow-up suggests the initial decision wasn’t a one-off move, and the association will continue boycotting the state until it repeals HB2.
HB2 has already led to a lot of political and economic backlash in the state
HB2, which former Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law last March, repealed and banned local civil rights laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations (restaurants, hotels, and other places that serve the public). It also banned transgender people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity in schools and government buildings.
The law led to a huge backlash across the country. It’s a key reason that McCrory lost his reelection to Democratic challenger Roy Cooper in November. That led the state to consider repealing the law back in December, but that effort failed due to Republican opposition to a repeal.
When passed, HB2 also led to a wave of business boycotts due to its discriminatory nature. PayPal and Deutsche Bank pulled expansions into the state that would have created hundreds of jobs. The NBA and NCAA pulled events from the state. Several musicians, such as Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam, canceled concerts in the state. A+E Networks and 21st Century Fox said they would reconsider using North Carolina as a filming location in the future. More than 200 major CEOs and business leaders signed a letter asking McCrory to repeal the law.
By Wired's estimate, North Carolina as of September had lost $395 million — “more than the GDP of Micronesia” — as a result of the law.
Based on this latest news, that number has only kept going up — and it will continue doing so until North Carolina repeals its law.
For more on HB2, read Vox’s explainer.