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NBA Lifts Ban on North Carolina


With HB 2 "repealed," Charlotte will get a chance to host the All-Star Game in 2019.


NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Friday that Charlotte will be eligible to host the 2019 All-Star Game after North Carolina signed a partial repeal of the controversial anti-LGBT House Bill 2, reported The Washington Post.

The news from Silver came during a board of governors meeting in New York. "Another important issue we discussed was the revisiting of North Carolina as an all-star host," Silver said. "This is not an easy decision. The most recent change in the law does not mean the fundamental issues are resolved. But after considering all points of view, we concluded that Charlotte will be eligible to host the 2019 NBA All-Star Game."

The partial repeal of HB 2 "forbids government entities from enacting rules on multiple-occupancy bathrooms, showers and changing rooms unless it's 'in accordance with an act of the General Assembly,'" according to CNN. The law also prevents local governments in the state from passing or amending non-discrimination ordinances relating to employment or public accommodations until December 2020.

The NBA had agreed to pull the 2017 All-Star Game from North Carolina to Louisiana in protest of HB 2. The league said at the time that it was open to bringing the 2019 All-Star Game back to the state if the bill was repealed.

The original law, adopted last year, prevented local governments from enacting or enforcing LGBT-inclusive employment non-discrimination or public accommodations ordinances (affecting private businesses or contractors) and barred transgender people from using the restrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-segregated facilities that correspond with their gender identity, if these facilities are located in government buildings, including public elementary and secondary schools and state colleges and universities. It also barred localities from setting a minimum wage higher than the state's, and until an earlier change, revoked the right of employees to sue for discrimination in state court.

The NBA's announcement comes after the NCAA agreed to host future events in North Carolina given the state's partial repeal. Silver said the NBA came to its decision after considering the league's history of hosting events in the state.

"When Charlotte resubmits its application, we will need to ensure that our events can proceed with open access and anti-discrimination policies and that we can extend those policies to the venues, hotels, and businesses that we would work with during All-Star Weekend," the NBA Commissioner said. "We believe that an All-Star Game in Charlotte could be a powerful way to display our values of equality and inclusion, and by engaging even more deeply in North Carolina, we can be part of a larger national effort toward securing LGBT equality.

"Ultimately, I believe changing attitudes and not just laws is what will lead to that result."

LGBT advocates criticized the NBA's decision. "The list of LGBT community leaders and organizations opposing this move includes... ALL OF THEM," wrote Cyd Zeigler, the founder of OutSports. The Human Rights Campaign also criticized the basketball association.

"It is deeply disappointing to see the NBA reward North Carolina for doubling down on discrimination," said Chad Griffin, the Human Rights Campaign president, in a statement. "North Carolina has enacted a statewide ban on non-discrimination protections, and it remains the only state that has made it the state's exclusive business to decide where transgender people may use the restroom.

"These are dangerous laws that must change, and if the NBA decides to bring games to North Carolina -- which is not yet clear -- we expect that they will also be actively working to repeal laws that endanger LGBTQ players, fans, and employees."

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Yezmin Villarreal

Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.
Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.