NBA unsure it can host All-Star in Charlotte after non-discrimination ordinance overturned

RALEIGH, N.C. — The National Basketball Association said it is too early to know if a new North Carolina law overturning Charlotte's anti-discrimination ordinance will prevent the city from hosting the league's all-star game in 2017.

The NBA in a statement called the law passed Wednesday discriminatory and said it is deeply concerned it runs counter to the league's guiding principles of equality and mutual respect.

The NBA said it is too early to decide what the league might do with next year's All-Star game.

The North Carolina General Assembly passed and Gov. Pat McCrory signed legislation barring local laws that would extend anti-discrimination protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.

The law overrides a Charlotte ordinance expanding LGBT protections due to take effect April 1.

NBA Statement: "The NBA is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for all who attend our games and events. We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte."

In addition to top NBA players, the All-Star Game is also known to bring other celebrities and thousands of fans.

In 2014, the All-Star Game in New Orleans brought in more than $100 million and similar numbers are expected for Charlotte.

That would soften the blow of upgrades to the Time Warner Cable Arena with a $33 million price tag paid for with tax dollars.

Charlotte is also supposed to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in 2018 and NCAA officials expressed their policy about diversity.

NCAA statement:

“We’ll continue to monitor current events, which include issues surrounding diversity, in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites. Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values.  It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events.” 

"§ 143-422.11. Legislative declaration. (a) It is the public policy of this State to protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of all individuals within the State to enjoy fully and equally the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of places of public accommodation free of discrimination because of race, religion, color, national origin, or biological sex, provided that designating multiple or single occupancy bathrooms or changing facilities according to biological sex, as defined in G.S. 143-760(a)(1), (3), and (5), shall not be deemed to constitute discrimination.

"§ 143-422.13. Investigations; conciliations. The Human Relations Commission in the Department of Administration shall have the authority to receive, investigate, and conciliate complaints of discrimination in public accommodations. Throughout this process, the Human Relations Commission shall use its good House Bill 2-Ratified Page 5 offices to effect an amicable resolution of the complaints of discrimination. This Article does not create, and shall not be construed to create or support, a statutory or common law private right of action, and no person may bring any civil action based upon the public policy expressed herein." 

Channel 9 also reached out to the PGA, who released this statement: "The PGA of America provides an inclusive, welcoming environment for everyone at all of our events, including the PGA Championship."

Gay rights advocates say they'll repeal a law approved by the North Carolina legislature and signed by McCrory restricting anti-discrimination ordinances by walking the halls of the Legislative Building, fighting in the courts and winning at the ballot box.

There was a rally Thursday night at the Government Center in uptown Charlotte.

Dozens of people held signs that said "Equality" and "We will remember in November."

One man said the state's action shows it believes those in the LGBT community are second-class citizens.

“We think the North Carolina state legislators trying to overturn a local ordinance here is quite ridiculous,”  Bryan Ragon said.

At least 400 people gathered at a Raleigh church to rally members of the LGBT community Thursday evening, the day after the legislation passed. Joni Madison with the Human Rights Campaign and other speakers vowed to elect Democrat Roy Cooper over McCrory and kick legislators out of office.

Sarah Preston with the state American Civil Liberties Union announced that groups will go to court "as soon as possible" to challenge the new law. And Chris Sgro with Equality North Carolina said work would continue later this spring to overturn the law at the General Assembly.

Some corporations have raised concerns about a law signed by Gov. Pat McCrory blocking rules that protect people based on sexual orientation and gender identity when they eat out or hail a cab.

But a spokesman for McCrory said they've gotten positive responses from businesses since the bill's passage.

Ricky Diaz works on McCrory's re-election campaign. He wrote Thursday evening that many businesses agree with the governor that the Charlotte City Council shouldn't have made it in an issue in the first place by passing the ordinance last month.

The governor has said city leaders overstepped when they agreed transgender people can use restrooms and locker rooms aligned with their gender identity. McCrory says it threatened the basic privacy the public expects in these facilities. Others argue Charlotte violated the state constitution by passing the ordinance.

Diaz didn't immediately respond to a request to identify businesses that support McCrory.

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