HRC & Equality NC: NBA Decision to Reward North Carolina for Discrimination is Deeply Disappointing

by Stephen Peters

HB 142 prohibits cities from establishing non-discrimination rules to broadly protect players, fans in North Carolina

WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Equality NC released the following statements after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced North Carolina is now eligible to host future All-Star Games. The NBA decision comes in the wake of the discriminatory back-room “deal” made by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and the state’s GOP leadership that doubles down on many of the worst aspects of the anti-LGBTQ HB2 law.

“It is deeply disappointing to see the NBA reward North Carolina for doubling down on discrimination,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “North Carolina has enacted a statewide ban on non-discrimination protections, and it remains the only state that has made it the state’s exclusive business to decide where transgender people may use the restroom. These are dangerous laws that must change, and if the NBA decides to bring games to North Carolina — which is not yet clear — we expect that they will also be actively working to repeal laws that endanger LGBTQ players, fans, and employees.”

“It is disheartening to see the NBA fall for the fake repeal passed by lawmakers in Raleigh,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “The NBA has been a staunch opponent of HB2 and should be standing strong against HB142. The new law continues to put LGBTQ North Carolinians at risk and does little to alleviate the harm and discrimination put in place by the original HB2.”

With today’s announcement, Commissioner Silver said the NBA would develop a non-discrimination policy and require NBA partners to sign on to it. Unfortunately, Governor Roy Cooper’s back-room deal with Republican leadership in the General Assembly currently prevents North Carolina cities from meeting non-discrimination requirements.

The NBA’s announcement comes as a growing list of states and cities have issued or re-affirmed their bans on taxpayer-funded travel to North Carolina, including Minnesota, New York CityWashington, DCSan FranciscoAtlantaSeattleOaklandPortlandSanta Fe, Cincinnati, Salt Lake CityLos AngelesCincinnatiPalm Springs, and Wilton Manors.

The legislation passed last week, HB 142, is not HB2 repeal, and it makes North Carolina the latest state to enact an anti-LGBTQ bill into law this year. The new law replaces one discriminatory, anti-transgender, bathroom bill with another. It bans local LGBTQ non-discrimination protections statewide through 2020 and 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.

Former North Carolina Gov. Pat. McCrory — who lost his seat because of his role in HB2 — and the Family Research Council — an anti-LGBTQ hate group — have come out in favor of the new law, but condemnation for this sham “deal” has been widespread. Indeed, news of the fake repeal was met with a huge national outcry from major civil rights organizations, including HRC, Equality North Carolina, the National Center for Transgender Equality, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Voto Latino, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; corporations including IBM, Salesforce, Dow and Levi’s; and celebrities like Ellen Page, Jane Fonda, Janet Mock, Tegan and Sara, Montel Williams, Rob Reiner, Jason Collins, Martina Navratilova and Raymond Braun.

Civil rights groups have been working to correct the record on the discriminatory measure, and the tide has turned in calling out this sham “deal” exactly for what it is. Top headlines include: The New York Times editorial board, “North Carolina’s Bait-and-Switch on Transgender Restroom Law;” Steven Petrow for The Washington Post, “You can’t compromise on civil rights. But North Carolina just did;” The Charlotte Observer editorial board, “HB2 repeal: Cooper turns back on LGBT community;” Slate, “The HB2 “Repeal” Bill Is an Unmitigated Disaster for LGBTQ Rights and North Carolina;” Mother Jones, “Don't Be Fooled. The North Carolina "Compromise" Doesn't Actually Protect Trans Rights;” ESPN, “NCAA, NBA and ACC say they're pro-LGBT -- now's their chance to prove it;” The Nation, “The So-Called ‘Repeal’ of North Carolina’s Bathroom Bill Is a Terrible Deal for Civil Rights.” Further articles and statements from other major publications, as well as the business and entertainment community, can be found here.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Equality NC is a statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer North Carolinians. For more information, please visit


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