Bathroom bills and the NCAA. Arkansas might fail the championship event test. | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bathroom bills and the NCAA. Arkansas might fail the championship event test.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 8:20 AM

click to enlarge WE DISCRIMINATE: This photoshopped sign might as well be replicated in real life for the NCAA, which has begun asking about anti-discrimination policies in places that want to hold NCAA championship events. - PHOTO ILLUSTRATION
  • Photo illustration
  • WE DISCRIMINATE: This photoshopped sign might as well be replicated in real life for the NCAA, which has begun asking about anti-discrimination policies in places that want to hold NCAA championship events.

Will the North Carolina legislature approve an announced deal to repeal HB 2, the bathroom bill that has cost the state dearly in lost business?

Is the deal meaningful in terms of ending sexual orientation- and gender-based discrimination? We know the answer to that. The Human Rights Campaign announced a loud NO! Local anti-discrimination ordinances, such as the one in Charlotte that triggered HB 2, still won't be allowed in North Carolina until at least 2020. The state legislature will still be the police of "multi-stall bathrooms" under the so-called compromise.

Also, take note Arkansas: the NCAA's  interest in non-discrimination continues regardless. From the New York Times article linked above:

... last Friday, the N.C.A.A. not only reaffirmed its decision to remove events from the state — “to assure a safe, healthy, discrimination-free atmosphere,” it said — but also pointedly noted that decisions on where to hold championship events through 2022 would begin to be made this week.

... The N.C.A.A. has also begun to require future host sites to detail local laws that discriminate against participants or spectators.
Here's more on an NCAA questionnaire that must be completed by sites hoping to host NCAA events:

The questionnaire followed a policy set in April by the N.C.A.A. Board of Governors that requires championship sites — both those already selected and those bidding to host — to “demonstrate” how they will cultivate a tolerant, discrimination-free environment.
This questionnaire means trouble for would-be championship hosts in Arkansas.

Among other questions, the questionnaire asks, “Does your city, county/parish and/or state have provisions that allow for refusal of accommodations or service to any person?”

It also requires that potential hosts specifically answer the question, How would you “provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved with the event?”
The answer to that first question in Arkansas is, regrettably and in multiple ways, YES. State law passed in 2015 protects the right to refuse accommodations or service to people on account of sexual orientation or gender if you claim a moral exception. Another 2015 law prohibits local ordinances that would protect LGBTQ people. The Arkansas Supreme Court has smiled on that law (invalidating an ordinance in the home of the Razorbacks aimed at providing such protection). Pending in this legislature is a straight-up bathroom bill to prohibit use by people other than those with a matching birth gender. (Actually this bill has just been withdrawn.) There's also a bathroom lite bill to expand the indecent exposure statute in such a  ways as to essentially criminalize transgender use of facilities that don't match a person's birth sex.

We are not a welcoming state by NCAA lights, I wouldn't think.

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