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Anti-LGBT law drives NBA to move all-star game from N.C.

The NBA will move its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, over the state's anti-LGBT law.

The NBA issued this statement on its website:

"The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019. 

Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change. We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.

"Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community -- current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans. While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2. 

"We are particularly mindful of the impact of this decision on our fans in North Carolina, who are among the most passionate in our league. It is also important to stress that the City of Charlotte and the Hornets organization have sought to provide an inclusive environment and that the Hornets will continue to ensure that all patrons -- including members of the LGBT community -- feel welcome while attending games and events in their arena. 

"We look forward to re-starting plans for our All-Star festivities in Charlotte for 2019 provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter. 

"The NBA will make an announcement on the new location of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in the coming weeks."

Commenting on the development, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said, “Today the NBA and Commissioner Silver sent a clear message that they won’t stand for discrimination against LGBTQ employees, players or fans. The NBA repeatedly warned state lawmakers that their hateful HB2 law created an inhospitable environment for their 2017 All-Star Game and other events

"Nevertheless, Gov. McCrory, Sen. Berger and Speaker Moore doubled down on HB2 and refused to undo their discriminatory and costly error in judgment. Every day that HB2 remains on the books, people across North Carolina are at risk of real harm. We appreciate the leadership of the NBA in standing up for equality and call once again on lawmakers to repeal this vile HB2 law.”

Chris Sgro, executive director of the statewide LGBT group Equality NC, also commented: "North Carolina General Assembly leadership and Gov. McCrory repeatedly ignored the warning bells as businesses, conferences and entertainers left the state.

"From the beginning, NBA leadership has been clear that HB2 creates an untenable situation and jeopardizes the safety and comfort of their fans. The withdraw of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte came as the NBA took a principled stand against the discriminatory HB2 and the failure to repeal HB2."

LGBT civil rights advocates made clear that Charlotte's leadership is not to blame for the discriminatory legislation.

The city had adopted anti-discrimination protections last year.

Responding, GOP leadership enacted what has been called the worst anti-LGBT bill in the nation. It rolled back existing protections for LGBT people in Charlotte, removed municipalities' ability to enact nondiscrimination ordinances and banned transgender people from using the public facilities consistent with their gender identity.

Earlier this month, the North Carolina General Assembly adjourned after a short session and it is not scheduled to reconvene until January.

In the nearly four months since passage of HB2, more than 200 major CEOs and business leaders signed an open letter calling for full repeal of HB2.

Also, major film studios and corporations, from PayPal to Deutsche Bank, have stopped investments in the state and conventions have withdrawn from the state.

And North Carolina cities no longer qualify to host NCAA events, including the Final Four.

Lost business has been estimated at more than $329.9 million.

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