The 2017 PGA Championship will stay in Charlotte, North Carolina, even though its governing organization opposes the state’s controversial House Bill 2, which prevents transgender people from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity and limits other LGBT anti-discrimination protections.
The PGA of America made the announcement on July 22, just one day after the NBA made the unprecedented decision to yank its 2017 All-Star Game out of North Carolina due to the divisive law.
“The PGA of America strongly opposes North Carolina HB2,” the organization said in a written statement via ESPN. “It contradicts our commitment to create an inclusive and welcoming environment at our events. We remain hopeful that the law will be changed.”
The statement pointed out that the host of the championship, Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club, is privately owned and not subject to all of HB2’s provisions, so the event’s spectators will be allowed “to use the restroom that conforms with their gender identity or gender expression.”
While the 2017 PGA Championship will stay in Charlotte, the PGA of America indicated it may nix other tournaments in North Carolina. “As we look to future events, our willingness to consider coming back to the State of North Carolina will be severely impacted unless HB2 is overturned.”
The PGA Tour released a separate statement to GolfChannel.com.
“The PGA Tour has a strong commitment to an open, fully inclusive and welcoming environment at each of the events we operate and sanction, and North Carolina HB2 is inconsistent with these principles.”
The Tour said all four of its upcoming events in the state will be held at private facilities.
As The Charlotte Observer explained, HB2 was passed in March in response to a Charlotte ordinance that extended anti-discrimination protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. The law excludes LGBT people from the state’s definition of protected nondiscrimination categories and dictates that transgender people must use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates when in government buildings. Private businesses are exempt from the law.
As pointed out by Buzzfeed and CNN Money, HB2 has led to a series of boycotts by high-profile musicians, film and television productions and businesses. Bruce Springsteen, Maroon 5, Nick Jonas, Pearl Jam and Selena Gomez have all pulled the plug on North Carolina concerts, and PayPal and Deutsche Bank have suspended plans to open offices in the state.
But the biggest blow so far has been the NBA’s decision to move its All-Star Game to New Orleans, a move that will cost Charlotte an estimated $100 million in revenue.
“While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2,” the NBA said in a statement via CNN Money.
Despite the boycotts, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory isn’t backing down. USA Today reported McCrory released a defiant statement after learning the NBA was bolting from Charlotte.
“The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present.”
Meanwhile, CNN Money noted the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce is trying to separate itself from the HB2 controversy. After the NBA called it quits, the organization issued a statement saying the city “embraces and promotes diversity, inclusiveness and equality.” The PGA’s announcement that its 2017 championship will stay in Charlotte was no doubt welcome news to the city’s beleaguered businesses.
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