Confirming what had widely been speculated for months, the NBA is relocating the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina because of recent state legislation removing discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, and transgender citizens. Known as HB2, that law also barred transgender people from using bathrooms with gender designations different from those on their birth certificates, and has garnered nation-wide criticism and DOJ lawsuits.
So gone are the game and the attendant week's worth of festivities. As the league said in a statement, "we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2."
The trouble in North Carolina started when the Charlotte City Council tried to pass an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance that also allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with in public accommodations. That's when the state legislature convened a special session to ram through HB2, reversing that ordinance and making it illegal for cities to expand upon existing state laws regulating workplace discrimination and use of public accommodations.
The response to HB2 was immediate and widespread. Businesses cancelled plans to expand in the state and musicians cancelled shows. All told, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce estimates the city has lost $285.5 million due to HB2 as of May 25. All to avoid having "8 years old children to be exposed to having to share bathroom facilities with people that don't share the organs they were Bourne (sic) with, this is plain wrong, this could cause irreparable damages to a children's that don't understand why they have to see what God did not mean for them to witness," apparently.
Goin' to Carolina
Per the New York Times, the NBA, along with the Charlotte Hornets franchise, had been in talks with state officials about a change in the law, but time had run out. "It is also important to stress." the league said in a statement, "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." While no new location for the upcoming All-Star Game has been officially set, the NBA said it is working to return the game to Charlotte in 2019.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory was vehement in his response to the decision, saying "American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process." While arguably almost none of those words are true, it looks like the state's economy and basketball fans will have to suffer in the meantime.