Today, HRC hailed the news that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s radical anti-LGBT HB 2 must be changed or the league will move the 2017 All-Star Game out of the state. The commissioner’s comments come just days before the North Carolina General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene.
Today at the Associated Press Sports Editors’ commissioner meetings, Silver said of the league’s plan to hold the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte: “We’ve been, I think, crystal clear a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event.”
“Commissioner Silver’s comments are crystal clear: If Governor McCrory, Senator Berger, and state lawmakers do not act immediately to repeal their deeply discriminatory HB 2 law, North Carolina will lose the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, costing the state and regional businesses millions of dollars,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The economic catastrophe Governor McCrory has inflicted on North Carolina can only be repaired by repealing this draconian law and replacing it with commonsense non-discrimination protections for LGBT people across the state.”
Gov. McCrory and state lawmakers are under increasingly intense pressure to repeal the discriminatory HB 2 in next week’s legislative session. Mayors and governors across the country are banning travel to the state, musicians are cancelling concerts, and the New York Times editorial board called North Carolina a “pioneer in bigotry.” Major film studios and corporations, from PayPal to Deutsche Bank, have stopped investments in the state because of the new law. The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office has even warned its LGBT citizens of the risks of traveling to North Carolina. More than 180 leading CEOs and business leaders are urging Gov. McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal the deeply discriminatory law that’s bad for business and bad for North Carolina.
HB 2 has eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. In addition, the legislation prevents transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. It also compels the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in publicly-owned buildings, including in public universities, major airports, and convention centers. Further, HB 2 revokes the ability to sue under state employment non-discrimination law on the basis of any protected characteristic, including race, religion, national origin, and sex. Lawmakers passed the legislation in a hurried, single-day session, and Gov. McCrory quickly signed it into law in the dead of night. The discriminatory law is already facing a legal challenge, and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said he will refuse to defend it in court.
North Carolina has the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first state in the country to enact a law attacking transgender students, even after similar proposals were rejected across the country this year -- including a high-profile veto by the Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota. North Carolina school districts that comply with the law will now be in direct violation of Title IX, subjecting the school districts to massive liability and putting an estimated $4.5 billion of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as funding received by schools from other federal agencies, at risk. This section of HB 2 offers costly supposed solutions to non-existent problems, and it forces schools to choose between complying with federal law -- plus doing the right thing for their students -- or complying with a state law that violates students’ civil rights. Read more about how this bill puts federal funding at risk here.
While the governor’s recent executive order extends protections to some state workers, it does nothing to fix the vile and discriminatory provisions he signed into law through HB 2. Under HB 2, transgender people are prohibited from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity in public buildings, including the University of North Carolina campus and the Raleigh-Durham Airport. Cities still cannot adopt ordinances to prohibit discrimination against their residents and visitors. And HB 2 still prevents individuals from bringing discrimination suit in state courts.