Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organisation, responded to a report from the Associated Press that the National Basketball Association (NBA) is moving the 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans, Louisiana — a city with explicit LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections. Citing the hostile environment created by North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 law, and after repeated warnings the league would move the event if the law remained on the books, the NBA recently announced it was moving the game out of Charlotte after state lawmakers failed to repeal the measure.
“By moving the 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans, the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver have sent a clear message to lawmakers in North Carolina and across the country that discrimination against LGBTQ people has consequences and will not be tolerated,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “New Orleans’ explicit LGBTQ non-discrimination protections will ensure all NBA employees, players, and fans who participate in the All-Star Game are protected from discrimination. Governor Pat McCrory and state lawmakers should use this as an opportunity to halt their assault on the people, reputation, and economy of North Carolina, and work toward replacing HB 2 with common sense non-discrimination protections. We look forward to the day when all North Carolinians can live their lives free from discrimination, and Charlotte is able to welcome back the All-Star Game.”
Recognising the importance of creating a positive and conducive environment for business, in February, the Charlotte City Council passed city-wide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. While city leaders sent a clear message that discrimination has no place in Charlotte, in response, Governor Pat McCrory and state lawmakers rammed HB 2 into law and doubled down on discrimination.
Louisiana has no state law similar to North Carolina’s HB 2, which explicitly bars transgender people from accessing restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity in government owned buildings, including many airports and sports facilities. Earning a score of 91 out of 100 on the HRC Foundation’s 2015 Municipal Equality Index, New Orleans has non-discrimination protections that explicitly protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination in public and private employment, housing, and public accommodations.
In the nearly five months since North Carolina Gov. McCrory and state lawmakers rammed HB2 into law, the economic fallout has continued to grow as companies concerned with protecting their consumers and employees have moved conventions, trainings, operations, productions, and other events out of state. With the NBA’s decision, the Tar Heel State will lose out on an estimated 100 million dollars in All-Star Game related profits, on top of the at least $329.9 million already lost in business and taxpayer funds used to defend the discriminatory measure. The economic consequences of HB 2 continue to mount, and more than 200 major CEOs and business leaders have signed an open letter calling for full repeal of HB 2, including many of North Carolina’s largest employers.
Despite the widespread opposition to HB 2, the North Carolina General Assembly adjourned its short session in July after refusing to repeal the law, and it is not scheduled to reconvene until January — leaving tens of thousands of people at risk of discrimination and harm over the months to come. Making only one tweak to the law, the General Assembly has been unwilling to even consider repealing the substance of HB 2, including its provision targeting transgender people, and its removal of municipalities’ ability to pass LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws and minimum wage ordinances.