It's been less than a month since the NCAA and ACC moved their championships out of North Carolina due to HB2, a law that sanctions discrimination against transgender people, and the state is taking another hit. Just last week, the Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) announced it too would pull nearly all of its conference championships from the state, saying that it could not support a law "which prevent[s] communities from effectively protecting student-athletes and fans."
As we've mentioned in previous blog posts, high-profile boycotts like this one are costing North Carolina big time, maybe as much as $425 million. The impact on the state is so large that a recent survey reports that “60 percent [of voters] say that ending HB2’s economic impact was more important” to them than actual enforcement of the law.
North Carolina would do well to follow the example of Georgia, which escaped economic backlash last year when Governor Nathan Deal vetoed HB 757, its so-called religious freedom bill. In contrast to the condemnation faced by North Carolina Governor McCrory, who supports HB 2, Deal’s veto earned him accolades last month from Georgia tourism industry for potentially saving Atlanta almost $1 billion in losses. For many Georgia business leaders, North Carolina's fate serves as a warning. As Atlanta-area venues wait to hear whether the NCAA will relocate championships to Georgia, it’s clear that any hopes of hosting this level of sporting competition will be dashed if Peach State legislators resurrect HB 757 this upcoming legislative session.
If North Carolina has learned anything in the last several months, it's that these business boycotts are no idle threat. Other states considering bills that sanction discrimination should take note.