SPORTS

NBA Rewards New Orleans’ LGBT Tolerance With All-Star Game Selection

Another win for LGBT rights.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has decided to hold the 2017 All-Star Game in New Orleans instead of Charlotte, North Carolina,
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has decided to hold the 2017 All-Star Game in New Orleans instead of Charlotte, North Carolina, due to an anti-LGBT law on the books in the latter state.

The NBA announced Friday that the 2017 All-Star Game will take place in New Orleans, in a move that has been interpreted as a nod to Louisiana’s relatively tolerant attitude toward LGBT people.

“New Orleans is a world-class destination for sports and entertainment and we are very appreciative that the city is once again hosting our All-Star festivities,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

Silver did not explicitly mention LGBT tolerance in Friday’s statement. The NBA had originally planned to hold next year’s All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina, but withdrew the city’s selection in July in protest of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) actively courted the NBA in a July letter to Silver, noting the state’s “diversity of heritage, culture, cuisine and people.”

Louisiana is one of the few Southern states not to pass so-called bathroom legislation allowing private entities to restrict transgender individuals’ ability to use the facilities of the gender with which they identify. Edwards signed an executive order in April barring discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. 

“By moving the 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans, the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver have 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,” Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. 

North Carolina has faced a massive backlash from businesses and state and local governments over the anti-LGBT law it passed in March. A number of major corporations have canceled plans to expand or invest in North Carolina in response to the law, and progressive governors and mayors have issued travel bans to the state. 

North Carolina’s legislation bans discrimination on the basis of race, gender and other criteria, but does not forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It also precludes municipalities like Charlotte from establishing their own ordinances to protect LGBT people against discrimination.

This will be the third time since the founding of the New Orleans Pelicans in 2002 that the Big Easy has hosted the All-Star Game. The game took place in New Orleans in 2008 and 2014 as well.

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