(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Prominent LGBTQ advocacy groups blasted North Carolina’s lieutenant governor on Tuesday after he issued a statement criticizing the NCAA for moving its championship games out of state.
The NCAA announced Monday night that it was relocating its championship games due to North Carolina’s passage of House Bill 2 (HB2), a controversial measure which has been criticized as “the most anti-LGBT bill in the country.”
HB2, which was passed in March, declares that state law overrides all local ordinances concerning wages, employment and public accommodations. It also directs all public schools, government agencies and public college campuses to require that multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities be designated for use only by people based on the “biological sex” stated on their birth certificates.
North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest said in a statement Tuesday that the “NCAA’s action sends a message to every female athlete and female fan attending their events that their privacy and security in a bathroom, shower or locker room isn’t worth the price of a ticket to a ballgame.”
He continued, “The line has now been drawn in the sand, first by Hollywood, now by the NBA [which moved its All-Star Games from the state in July] and NCAA, either accept their ‘progressive sexual agenda’ or pay the price. North Carolina will not play that game. We value our women too much to put a price tag on their heads.”
LGBTQ advocacy groups, including the National Center for Transgender Equality and American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, have since condemned Forest’s statement — calling it “offensive” and “shameful.”
“It’s just nonsense and completely offensive and condescending toward women and trans people,” said Mara Keising, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
“None of this has ever been about protecting women,” Keisling told ABC News Tuesday. “This narrative of big strong men defending women from the NCAA is just pretty outrageous, condescending and misogynistic.”
The ACLU of North Carolina’s legal director, Chris Brook, added that it was “beyond shameful that North Carolina’s leaders continue to double down on their support” of a “discriminatory law that is wreaking so much havoc on our state’s people, reputation and economy.”
“Treating transgender people with respect and dignity in no way compromises public safety or the privacy of others, and to suggest otherwise is deeply offensive and wildly inaccurate,” Brook told ABC News Tuesday. “HB2 is a solution in search of a problem born of fear of those who are different. The North Carolina General Assembly should repeal HB2 without delay.”
The Humans Rights Campaign added that North Carolina’s governor, Patrick McCrory, “should show some leadership and rather than sending out his cronies to launch over the top attacks, apologize and repeal HB2.”
“Gov. McCrory is so blinded by his own prejudice that he would rather sanction attacks on the NCAA while it stands up for equality and fairness rather than fix the problem and repeal HB2,” HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof said in a statement to ABC News.
When the NBA moved its All-Star Games from North Carolina in July, McCrory responded in a statement, saying, “American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process.”
The NCAA told ABC News in a statement Tuesday, “We stand by our comments yesterday and have nothing further at this time.”
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