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NBA All-Star Game returns to Charlotte over LGBTQ protests

The NBA has announced its 2019 All-Star Game will be held in Charlotte.

This year’s game was held in New Orleans due to the NBA’s opposition to HB2.

But LGBTQ advocate groups Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign are denouncing the decision. The HB2 compromise recently struck by the General Assembly wasn’t a true comprise, the groups said in a statement Wednesday – and corporations and sports groups shouldn’t be rewarding it.

The groups pointed out that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said  event sites, hotels, and businesses involved with the NBA All-Star Game must put in place LGBTQ inclusive non-discrimination policies inclusive of the LGBTQ community. But no such guidelines have yet been put in place by the city or the state.

“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 in the statement. “As we move forward with the NBA All-Star Game returning to Charlotte, LGBTQ people must be invited to the discussions between the NBA, the city of Charlotte and NCGA leadership to provide input and feedback on how to best protect LGBTQ people.”

“North Carolina’s discriminatory law prohibits the city of Charlotte from implementing non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ residents and visitors attending the All-Star Game. Nothing has changed that fact,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “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.”

HB 142 is not a true HB2 repeal, the groups said in their statement. Instead it replaces one discriminatory, anti-transgender bathroom bill with another and bans local LGBTQ non-discrimination protections statewide through 2020. It substitutes the previous anti-transgender bathroom provisions with a new provision that forbids state agencies, public universities, primary and secondary schools, and cities from adopting policies ensuring transgender people have access to restrooms consistent with their gender identity, the groups said.

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