A group of U.S. senators, including Sen. Mark Kirk, penned a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver urging him to move the 2017 All Star Game from North Carolina after an “anti-LGBT” bill was passed in the state last month.
North Carolina passed legislation in March that centers around single-sex public restrooms and changing facilities in the state’s schools and public agencies.
The legislation is viewed as “anti-LGBT” because it requires individuals to use restrooms based on their sex at birth, not their sexual identity.
“We cannot condone nor stand idly by as North Carolina moves to legalize and institutionalize discrimination against the LGBT community,” the group wrote. “Nor should the NBA allow its premier annual event to be hosted in such a state.”
In the letter, the group lauded the City of Charlotte, which is scheduled to host the event, for passing an anti-discrimination measure that was eventually overturned by the “anti-LGBT” measure.
In addition to this, the group recognized the league for its inclusiveness.
“The NBA boasts one of the most multicultural and multiethnic groups of players of any sports league in the world with more than 100 international players on its rosters,” the group wrote. “The NBA also made history just two years ago this month when Jason Collins become the first openly gay athlete to play in a major American professional sports league.”
In their letter, the group of senators claim to echo the sentiments of NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, who asked the league to move the game last week.
"As a black person, I'm against any form of discrimination- against whites, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, however you want to phrase it," Barkley told CNN. "It's my job, with the position of power that I'm in and being able to be on television, I'm supposed to stand up for the people who can't stand up for themselves. So, I think the NBA should move the All-Star Game from Charlotte."
The questionable law has received a considerable amount of backlash since it was passed last month.
As a result of the legislation, PayPal canelled plans last week to open a global operation center in Charlotte and invest $3.6 million the area. Bruce Springsteen cancelled an upcoming North Carolina tour date last week in protest of the law. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo, Jr. also proposed measures to halt county business with North Carolina over the law.
Aside from Kirk, the group petitioning the league’s commissioner includes; Sen. Jeffrey Merkley of Oregon, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.
Kirk is the only Republican lawmaker in the group.