A championship football game moved amid a boycott of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law will poignantly be heading to Orlando.

North Carolina lost a string of big investment ventures earlier this year over Republican Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to sign the contentious HB 2 – which voided all local ordinances protecting LGBT rights, banned transgender people from using their preferred bathroom, and permits businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on the grounds of religious belief.

McCrory continues to insist the law is “common sense”, but the state has faced boycotts from big business, entertainment and the sports industry.

This week it was announced that the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) will be moving the league’s 2016 football championship game out of the state.

The game will poignantly be moved to Orlando, Florida, which has become a rallying point for LGBT rights in the wake of the Pulse gay club shooting.

A statement confirmed: “The 2016 Dr Pepper Atlantic Coast Conference Football Championship will be held at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.”

HRC President Chad Griffin said: “What will it take for Governor McCrory and state legislative leaders to stop holding the people and economy of North Carolina hostage?

“The ACC, based in Greensboro, has now joined the growing list of organizations moving games and other events out of state in order to protect fans, students, and employees from Governor McCrory’s discriminatory HB2 law.

“The ACC’s decision to move the 2016 football championship to Orlando – a city with a perfect 100 point Municipal Equality Index score that has also come together in the wake of a tragic attack on the LGBTQ community — has sent an especially strong message to Governor McCrory and his allies. The days of attacking LGBTQ people for political gain are over.”

Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro said: “It has been almost 200 days since Governor Pat McCrory and his legislative allies have pushed through the worst anti-LGBTQ bill in the nation without consideration of harm to the state.

“Every day that goes by, LGBTQ North Carolinians are at risk of continued discrimination, and North Carolina’s economy will continue to suffer.

“Losing the ACC championship game to Orlando is saddening, but not surprising.

“Orlando has comprehensive non-discrimination protections that make it a welcoming place for all fans and players.

“Governor McCrory needs to stop playing politics and do what’s best for North Carolina.

“He needs to repeal HB2 and focus on protecting all North Carolinians from discrimination. Only then will we win back the NCAA, ACC, and other vital events.”