A top North Carolina lawmaker rushed to defend his state’s controversial law that critics say discriminates against LGBT people, on the same day it cost the state a second slate of major college sporting events.
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Wednesday it would relocate all eight championship games scheduled to be played in North Carolina this academic year, claiming the law would compromise the conference’s values of “equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination.” Earlier this week, the NCAA announced it would move seven title games from the state.
The law, known as House Bill 2, prevents local governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances for LGBT people, and bars transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the Republican-backed legislation into law in March.
But North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore argued in a statement that the law was “never about” discrimination.
“It is very unfortunate that the NCAA and ACC have decided to move their scheduled events out of North Carolina. No one ever wants to lose events under any circumstances, but these organisations are certainly entitled to host their events wherever they choose,” Moore said in the statement.
“The truth remains that this law was never about and does not promote discrimination,” he continued. “We will continue to advocate that North Carolina is a great place to live, do business, hold events and to visit.”
House Speaker Responds to ACC and NCAA Announcements. pic.twitter.com/6bpSD9EO1T
— Speaker Tim Moore (@NCHouseSpeaker) September 14, 2016
Proponents of the law have claimed the law is necessary to ensure public safety. However, almost immediately after its passage, the law drew fierce opposition nationwide. Multiple businesses froze plans to expand in North Carolina, and performers including Bruce Springsteen and Maroon 5 canceled concerts in the state.
The ACC is the third major sports organisation to relocate games out of North Carolina, following the NCAA and the NBA, which announced it July it would move the 2017 NBA All-Star Game from Charlotte.
The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, a conference of mostly North Carolina-based historically black colleges that plays in the NCAA’s Division II, has not announced whether it will move any of the 10 championships scheduled to be played in the state this year.
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