Charlotte, N.C., will be hosting the 2019 NBA All-Star Game now that North Carolina's anti-LGBT House Bill 2 has been repealed, reports The Charlotte Observer.
The NBA had moved the 2017 game from Charlotte because of HB 2, but after Gov. Roy Cooper signed a "compromise" bill that repealed it, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that Charlotte would be eligible to host the 2019 game and related festivities. The events will take place February 15-17, 2019, with the game on the final day at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.
The repeal was criticized by LGBT advocates because it still bans local governments from passing antidiscrimination ordinances until 2020. The original law, adopted last year, prevented local governments from enacting or enforcing LGBT-inclusive employment nondiscrimination 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.
Charlotte luminaries celebrated the latest news. "All-Star weekend is an international event that will provide a tremendous economic impact to our community while showcasing our city, our franchise and our passionate Hornets fan base to people around the world," said Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, who was a legendary player with the NBA's Chicago Bulls.
Equality North Carolina and the Human Rights Campaign issued a statement criticizing the decision, however. "We need to see concrete guidelines and policies put in place that will live up to the proposed principles put forward by the NBA designed to protect all of its players and fans," said Equality NC interim executive director Matt Hirschy.
"North Carolina's discriminatory law prohibits the city of Charlotte from implementing nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ residents and visitors attending the All-Star Game. Nothing has changed that fact," said HRC senior vice president for policy and political affairs JoDee Winterhof. "It's critically important that people understand the gravity of this situation, which has had the effect of extending discrimination and endangering LGBTQ people across the state of North Carolina."