Tag Archives: all-star game

Investors representing $2.1 trillion join call to repeal anti-LGBT law

Some 60 investors representing $2.1 trillion in managed assets joined the NCAA, entertainers and more than 200 businesses in calling for North Carolina to repeal its law limiting LGBT protections against discrimination.

“While the U.S. economy continues to grow, quite frankly North Carolina appears to be headed for what I would call a state-government-inflicted recession,” said Matt Patsky, chief executive officer of Trillium Asset Management. Trillium has more than $2 billion in assets under management.

Patsky spoke this week at a news conference alongside some of the investors who signed a statement calling for repeal of the law known as HB2. Trillium was one of the organizers of the statement, along with environmental research group Croatan Institute and the New York City comptroller, Scott Stringer. Stringer was unable to attend because of a New York ban on travel to North Carolina, Patsky said.

“As long-term investors, we can’t sit idly by as HB2 undermines fundamental human rights at our expense,” Stringer said in the statement. “For the last 25 years, New York City’s pension funds have pushed more than 100 companies to enact non-discrimination policies that protect LGBTQ individuals and ensure they attract, retain, and promote the best and the brightest. These policies are essential if we want companies — and our economy — to succeed, and we can’t let a hate-filled law get in the way.”

State legislators were enraged when the Charlotte City Council passed an ordinance expanding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. During a one-day special session in March, Republicans passed a state law that blocks any municipality from expanding protections against sexual discrimination in public accommodations to LGBT people and ordered public schools and universities to ensure that students use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates.

Earlier this month, Gov. Pat McCrory and GOP legislators offered to consider rescinding the law, but only if the Democrats who pushed for Charlotte’s ordinance would essentially admit they were wrong, something the council hasn’t done.

Meanwhile, the NBA pulled its All-Star Game from Charlotte. The NCAA earlier this month took the unprecedented step of pulling seven championship events from the state over its objection to the law. Two days later, the ACC did the same thing — relocating all 10 of its neutral-site championships from the state the conference has called home since its founding in 1953.

Performers including Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Maroon 5 canceled concerts in North Carolina, and more than 200 business leaders signed a letter to McCrory. The Williams Institute, which is part of the UCLA School of Law, has said HB2 could cost the state as much as $5 billion in lost federal funding and business investment.

“This latest attack on North Carolina values is being coordinated by the same people who manage the New York City pension fund that is on the verge of an ‘operational failure,’ according to a recent report,” McCrory said in a statement released by his campaign. “For New York hedge fund billionaires to lecture North Carolina about how to conduct its affairs is the height of hypocrisy.

McCrory is seeking re-election in a campaign against Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who opposes the law.

Some clients are seeking “North Carolina-free portfolios,” including divestment of municipal bonds, Patsky said, and he expects that number to grow if the law isn’t repealed.

Those who signed the letter include representatives of North Carolina-based groups such as Investors’ Circle and the Mary Babcock Reynolds Foundation. Others who signed are from Morgan Stanley Investment Management, John Hancock Investments and RBC Wealth Management.

“This fallout is real,” said Bonny Moellenbrock, executive director of Investors Circle, which she said has invested $200 million in more than 330 start-ups. “It has had a devastating impact on our reputation and that has a direct impact on entrepreneurs’ ability to grow their business here.”

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.

Major League Baseball partners to stamp out homophobia

Before the All-Star Game on July 15, Major League Baseball announced a new partnership with Athlete Ally aimed at stamping out homophobia and transphobia in the game.

As part of the campaign, MLB players, coaches, front office personnel and others are being asked to sign a pledge “to lead my athletic community to respect and welcome all persons, regardless of their perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

Also, MLB appointed Billy Bean, who came out as gay after retiring from the game, as the league’s first “ambassador for inclusion.” Bean played for the Tigers, Dodgers and Padres over six seasons.

Major League Baseball adopted a policy last year aimed at reducing harassment and discrimination. 

The league is now seeking allies, who can “be any person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who takes a stand against homophobia and transphobia in sports and brings the message of respect, inclusion and equality to an athletic community.”

Bean, who was at the All-Star Game in Minneapolis, will be responsible for education initiatives. “I’m very proud that MLB is recognizing the social responsibility and the importance of this decision to provide and ensure an equitable and inclusive workplace,” he said. “And I want to make sure that everybody understands that the history, the integrity of baseball is never going to change.”

Selig, before the All-Star game, said, “I am proud of our industry’s united stance, but the reality, not just in baseball, but in all of our society, is that we can never do enough to ensure respect and inclusion for everyone.”

Athlete Ally representatives also attended the All-Star Game and the related festivities to sign up allies in the campaign.

Later this summer he’ll be inducted into the LGBT Sports Hall of Fame in Chicago.

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