The NBA announced on Thursday night that it will move the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte due to a North Carolina law that limits anti-discrimination protection for lesbian, gay and transgender people.
The league had made it clear its opposition to the HB2 law since it was enacted in March and its decision Thursday came less than a month after state legislators revisited the law and chose to leave it largely unchanged.
“While we recognise 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,” the league said in a statement.
The league added that it hoped to announce a new location for next February’s events shortly. It hopes to reschedule the 2019 game for Charlotte if there is a resolution to the matter.
There was no appetite among Republican lawmakers to change the provision forcing transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings — a measure at the heart of two legal challenges in federal court.
The law passed in a March special session also excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from anti-discrimination protections related to the workplace, hotels and restaurants; and overrules local anti-discrimination ordinances.
Republican leaders have said the law was passed in response to a Charlotte ordinance that would have allowed transgender people to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity.