The National Basketball Association’s decision to pull its all-star game from Charlotte, North Carolina over the state’s bathroom bill has drawn criticism from those who say the decision is hypocritical.
“The NBA has abandoned common sense and put politics ahead of principle,” said Kellie Fiedorek, Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel. “The North Carolina privacy law, which protects girls and women from being forced to share locker rooms and showers with men, is completely reasonable. Pulling the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte is unreasonable and hypocritical.”
“If the NBA actually believed that there is no difference between men and women, it would merge its two leagues,” she said, referring to the professional basketball league’s counterpart, the Women’s National Basketball Association.
The NBA’s creation of the WNBA recognizes “the innate and obvious differences between men and women,” Fiedorek said.
On Thursday, the basketball league announced that it would move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte because of its objections to a state law that requires individuals to use public locker rooms and restrooms that correspond to their biological sex on their birth certificate. The law also barred localities from having a stricter anti-discrimination law than the state’s, and barred cities or counties from setting their own minimum wage standard for private employers.
The law was created to overturn a Charlotte ordinance that would have allowed individuals to use bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities that corresponded with their self-perceived “gender identity,” even if this differs from their biological sex.
The sports league characterized the controversy as an issue of “legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte.” It said it hopes to hold the 2019 game in Charlotte “provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter,” CNN reports.
Backers of the North Carolina law, House Bill 2, said it was necessary to overturn local ordinances that would have allowed any man in any women’s bathroom, locker room or shower room based on their self-declared “gender identity.” The ordinances would have allowed legal complaints against business owners whose views are considered discriminatory under local law.
The bill passed the state senate unanimously with 32 votes. It passed the State House by a vote of 83-25 and was signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory. According to a poll by Survey USA, sponsored by the Civitas Institute, 69 percent of North Carolinans backed the state bill.
Many large corporations have allied with LGBT activist groups and the ACLU in opposing the state law.
Fiedorek said the state law “simply protected the dignity interests and privacy rights of North Carolinians.”
She added that New Orleans, an often-mentioned alternative host for the All-Star Game, also allows for separate bathroom, restroom, shower or similar facilities for men and women in its own local ordinance.
Gov. McCrory strongly criticized the NBA’s decision.
“The sports and entertainment elite, (North Carolina) Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present.”
College sports have also started to side with LGBT advocates.
On July 22 the NCAA sent a questionnaire to local event organizing groups that asks whether their localities and states have passed “anti-discrimination laws that are applicable to all persons” and whether there is legal regulation of “choice of bathrooms or locker rooms” that may affect student athletes, coaches, administrators, game officials or fans, USA Today reports.
In April the NCAA Board of Governors approved a new rule that sites hosting or bidding on NCAA championships, meetings and conferences must show “how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination.”