News Releases

Letter follows North Carolina’s passage of anti-LGBT law

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to write to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, urging him to move the 2017 NBA All-Star game away from Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

The Senators’ call for a new location follows North Carolina’s passage of HB2, anti-LGBT legislation that provides businesses, government contractors, hotels and other institutions license to discriminate against LGBT individuals. The legislation also prevents local governments from passing any ordinances that would give their LGBT residents or visitors non-discrimination protections.

 

“Millions of Americans and millions more people around the world look up to the NBA,” wrote the Senators. “The NBA boasts one of the most multicultural and multiethnic groups of players of any sports league in the world with more than 100 international players on its rosters. The NBA also made history just two years ago this month when Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete to play in a major American professional sports league.” 

 

“We hold no ill-will towards the people of Charlotte, who passed an antidiscrimination measure that HB2 overturned, nor towards the people of North Carolina,” they continued. “However, we cannot condone nor stand idly by as North Carolina moves to legalize and institutionalize discrimination against the LGBT community. Nor should the NBA allow its premier annual event to be hosted in such a state. Doing so, we believe, would be inconsistent with the NBA’s history and values. Therefore, we echo the words of NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley and call on the NBA to move the All-Star game from Charlotte.”

 

The Senators are sponsors of the Equality Act, federal legislation authored by Merkley that would extend comprehensive non-discrimination protections in employment, housing, public accommodations and other key areas to LGBT Americans.

 

The full text of the letter follows below. A pdf of the signed letter can be found here.

 

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Dear Commissioner Silver:

 

Discrimination has no place in modern America.  The actions of the North Carolina state government in passing House Bill 2 (“HB2”), an anti-LGBT measure, are profoundly disappointing.  It represents an attempt to bend the arc of the moral universe, in Dr. King’s words, away from justice and equality.  As one of America’s and the world’s premier sports leagues with hundreds of millions of fans of all colors, creeds, sexes, and sexual orientations, we urge you to take a stand against this latest form of discrimination and move the 2017 NBA All-Star Game away from Charlotte, N.C.

 

As you know, the North Carolina legislature called an emergency session on March 23 and passed HB2, disingenuously titled the “Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act.” The Act was signed by the governor that same day.  The Act forces transgender individuals to use bathrooms that differ from their gender identity and preempts local governments from passing non-discrimination ordinances protecting members of the LGBT community.  Put plainly, HB2 provides businesses, government contractors, hotels, and other institutions with a license to discriminate, and no city council or county government can do a thing about it. This is just wrong. 

 

Millions of Americans and millions more people around the world look up to the NBA.  The NBA boasts one of the most multicultural and multiethnic groups of players of any sports league in the world with more than 100 international players on its rosters.  The NBA also made history just two years ago this month when Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete to play in a major American professional sports league. 

 

We hold no ill-will towards the people of Charlotte, who passed an antidiscrimination measure that HB2 overturned, or towards the people of North Carolina. However, we cannot condone nor stand idly by as North Carolina moves to legalize and institutionalize discrimination against the LGBT community. Nor should the NBA allow its premier annual event to be hosted in such a state.  Doing so, we believe, would be inconsistent with the NBA’s history and values.  Therefore, we echo the words of NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley and call on the NBA to move the All-Star game from Charlotte.