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Russell Wilson and Ciara reportedly moved their July wedding from North Carolina in protest of House Bill 2, the anti-LGBT law passed in March.
Wilson, the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, and Ciara, an R&B singer known for the hits "Goodies" and "1, 2 Step," tied the knot during a lavish ceremony at Peckford Castle in Liverpool, England, but their wedding planner, Mindy Weiss, told The Knot the nuptials were originally set for the Tar Heel State.
"I did the whole thing -- three times," Weiss said. "They were first getting married in North Carolina, but they called it off due to the transgender bathroom laws. But it was really done."
Wilson has often stressed a commitment to social equality through his activism and charity work. The Super Bowl-winning athlete founded Why Not You in 2014, a nonprofit designed to foster a new generation of youth leaders. Wilson also was behind Pass the Peace, a campaign launched later that year to raise money for domestic violence survivors.
During a July interview, Wilson stressed that each of us has a "responsibility" to work for the greater good.
"It's not just on athletes, it's not just on coaches, it's not just on anybody in particular," he told reporters. "It's on all of us. I think ultimately it comes down to love and appreciating one another and respect for one another."
The couple aren't the first to pull out of North Carolina following the passage of HB 2, which was pushed through during an emergency session of the state legislature March 23 and signed into law by the governor the same day. The bill, which forces trans people to use public restrooms (in government buildings) that do not correspond with their gender identity, was introduced, debated, and passed in a single day. It also prevents localities from enacting or enforcing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws or setting a minimum wage higher than the state's.
Musicians Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Pearl Jam, Nick Jonas, and Demi Lovato all canceled scheduled concerts in the state, while the Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil also declined to perform.
Other artists, including Cyndi Lauper and Duran Duran, used their shows to condemn the law.
Meanwhile, over 160 businesses threatened to boycott North Carolina over HB 2, including Apple, General Electric, Google, Dow Chemical and Microsoft. Both PayPal and Deutsche Bank nixed future expansions in North Carolina, which cost the state an estimated $3.6 million and $5 million respectively. The latter would have also added 250 jobs to the ailing state.
Estimates vary on just how much these continued protests have cost the state.
The Center for American Progress tabulated that HB 2, should the law not be repealed, would set the state back $500 million. UCLA's Williams Institute painted an even less rosy picture of the state's future, saying that it would result in a $5 billion loss for North Carolina.
As of the time of writing, Gov. Pat McCrory -- who has unbendingly stood by the unpopular legislation -- and the legislature have no plans to repeal HB 2.
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