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ACC Moving Championship to Orlando in Protest of N.C.’s Anti-LGBT Law

ACC Moving Championship to Orlando in Protest of N.C.’s Anti-LGBT Law

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The connection between Pulse and House Bill 2 is "impossible to ignore," wrote SB Nation. 

The Atlantic Coast Conference has opted to move its football championship game to Orlando following the decision to pull eight neutral-site championships from North Carolina over its discriminatory anti-LGBT law, House Bill 2.

In an earlier statement, the ACC said the conference is driven to uphold the "values of equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination."

"Every one of our 15 universities is strongly committed to these values and therefore, we will continue to host ACC Championships at campus sites," its press release stated. "We believe North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values, and as a result, we will relocate all neutral-site championships for the 2016-17 academic year. All locations will be announced in the future from the conference office."

HB 2 presented a conflict of interest for the ACC. The bill, which was introduced, debated, and passed in a single day, forces transgender people to use bathrooms that do not correspond with their gender identity when is public schools and other government buildings. It also prohibits localities from passing nondiscrimination laws to protect the LGBT community.

The game, which will now be held at Camping World Stadium, was originally set for Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium.

The ACC title match will be just one of the many events relocated in opposition to the law, including championship games for men's baseball, women's tennis, and men's golf. The decision will affect the ACC's member teams, located in 10 states. These institutions include Duke, Boston College, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Syracuse.

This will be the first time since 2009 that the ACC championship is played in the Sunshine State. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher called the choice of Orlando a no-brainer.

"You're talking about Orlando, maybe one of the accessible cities in all of America because of Disney World and all the vacation spots," Fisher told the Orlando Sentinel. There are cheap flights, and accessible. Great hotel rooms, great rooms for your team to go to all the meeting rooms and all the space and everything."

"Then you have a great group of people in Orlando at the stadium that treat you first class," he continued. "The stadium is beautiful. They renovated it. The stands are great. It's a great atmosphere."

For LGBT people, the site will have a greater significance. Orlando is home to Pulse nightclub, the site of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. On June 12, 49 people were killed and 53 more wounded when a lone gunman opened fire on the popular gay bar, known as a safe haven for the area LGBT community.

Although the ACC didn't directly cite the horrific tragedy in its decision to relocate to Camping World Stadium, SB Nation argues that the connection between Pulse and HB 2 is "impossible to ignore."

"This could be a chance for ... college football to recognize a LGBTQ community it's all but ignored for decades," the sporting website notes.

The ACC football championship game will take place December 3.

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