The Atlantic Coast Conference showed its commitment to LGBT non-discrimination today when it announced that Orlando would be the new host city for the ACC’s football championship. The move could bring the city more than $30 million in revenue, according to estimates from the 2014-2015 season.
The ACC announced earlier this month that it would pull all neutral-site championships out of North Carolina over the state’s discriminatory HB 2 law, which prohibits transgender people from using public restrooms that match their gender identity and—similar to HB 757, which Governor Deal vetoed earlier this year—codifies a license to discriminate against LGBT people.
A new rule set down by the NCAA in the wake of the controversy over HB 2 requires host cities to submit explicit plans for how they will protect participants and spectators from discrimination. The ACC, as an NCAA conference, is bound by these same non-discrimination rules.
Though Florida does not have explicit statewide protections for LGBT people, the city of Orlando has LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination laws that meet the NCAA standards.
Atlanta, too, has an LGBT-inclusive human rights ordinance that conforms to the NCAA’s and ACC’s commitment to equality, meaning that there is still a chance some of the games that have been ousted from North Carolina could come to Georgia. Atlanta is already scheduled to host several NCAA basketball tournament games leading up to the 2020 Final Four, including the men’s basketball south regional championships in 2018.
But Atlanta’s competitive edge could be in jeopardy as lawmakers float discriminatory statewide legislation for consideration next session.
The ACC’s announcement is part of a growing trend of businesses and other organizations investing in cities and states with LGBT protections.
In fact, Atlanta has been in direct competition with North Carolina for business, and the city’s LGBT-inclusive HRO worked in its favor. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, sportswear giant Adidas and the consumer-electronics company Honeywell both picked Georgia over North Carolina when deciding where to set a planned expansion.
If Georgia wants to remain a competitive place to invest and do business, lawmakers should take steps to advance LGBT non-discrimination.SHARE THIS STORY