New Orleans skyline as seen from Canal Street – Photo: Lara Farhadi, via Wikimedia.
“[The NBA has] sent a clear message to lawmakers in North Carolina and across the country that discrimination against LGBTQ people has consequences and will not be tolerated.”
–Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, in a statement responding to a report that the National Basketball Association is moving the 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans, which has an explicit LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance.
The NBA had previously yanked the All-Star Game from Charlotte after North Carolina passed its controversial anti-LGBT law known as HB 2.
Unlike North Carolina, Louisiana does not have a law that prohibits local municipalities from passing their own ordinances, nor preventing transgender people from using the restroom associated with their gender identity.
In 2015, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, in an attempt to counteract an anti-LGBT executive order by then-Gov. Bobby Jindal, issued his own pro-LGBT order. Landrieu’s order prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.
In a similar vein, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has issued his own executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in state employment, or any company who contracts with the state.
“New Orleans’ explicit LGBTQ non-discrimination protections will ensure all NBA employees, players, and fans who participate in the All-Star Game are protected from discrimination,” HRC’s Griffin said. “Governor Pat McCrory and [North Carolina] state lawmakers should use this as an opportunity to halt their assault on the people, reputation, and economy of North Carolina, and work toward replacing HB 2 with commonsense non-discrimination protections. We look forward to the day when all North Carolinians can live their lives free from discrimination, and Charlotte is able to welcome back the All-Star Game.”
Besides being a statement from the NBA as to its support for LGBT rights more generally, the relocation of the All-Star Game also brings benefits to the host city when visiting athletes, coaches, and fans patronize local establishments and spend their money.
With the decision to pull out of Charlotte, North Carolina is expected to lose an estimated $100 million in profits. That is separate from the nearly $330 million the state is estimated to have lost through economic boycotts and reduced investment from companies who objected to the passage of HB 2.
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