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ACC: LGBT law could affect whether NC hosts league events

LGBT Rights North Carolina

Protesters rally against House Bill 2 in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, April 25, 2016. While demonstrations circled North Carolina’s statehouse on Monday, for and against a Republican-backed law curtailing protections for LGBT people and limiting public bathroom access for transgender people, House Democrats filed a repeal bill that stands little chance of passing. (Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT


AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (AP) A North Carolina law that critics say can allow discrimination against members of the LGBT community could impact whether the state hosts Atlantic Coast Conference championship events.

In a statement Thursday, the ACC says member schools discussed the law during annual spring meetings. Signed in March, the law prevents local governments from passing their own anti-discrimination rules covering the use of public accommodations, a response to Charlotte leaders approving a measure allowing transgender people to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity.

The North Carolina-headquartered ACC says “discrimination in any form has no place in higher education and college athletics.” The statement comes roughly two weeks after the NCAA Board of Governors adopted an anti-discrimination measure in its process for evaluating bids to host sporting events.

Similar to that announcement, the ACC says it will require commitments from current championship sites “to provide safe and inclusive environments.”

“The membership strongly supports the league continuing to engage at the highest levels regarding the effects of this law on its constituents as it evaluates current and future events and championships within the state of North Carolina,” the statement says.

The ACC has deep roots in North Carolina. The league has held 51 of 63 men’s basketball tournaments in the state and returns in 2019 after a two-year stay in Brooklyn, New York. The league has long held its women’s basketball tournament in Greensboro, while the last six football championship games have been in Charlotte.

The law also has led to a public and business backlash. The NBA could move the 2017 All-Star game out of Charlotte. Performers from Bruce Springsteen to Pearl Jam have canceled shows out of protest, and Paypal called off plans to create an operations center in Charlotte that would have employed 400 people.

Last week, the U.S. Justice Department warned the law violates civil rights protections against sex discrimination on the job and in education for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Faced with a Monday deadline to report whether he would refuse to enforce the law, Gov. Pat McCrory instead filed a lawsuit seeking to keep the law in place. The Justice Department responded by suing North Carolina hours later.