On Tuesday, six U.S. senators, including Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), sent a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver asking him to pull the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, because of the state's controversial anti-LGBT law, HB2. "We hold no ill-will towards the people of Charlotte, who passed an anti-discrimination measure that HB2 overturned, or towards the people of North Carolina," the five Democrats and Kirk wrote. “However, we cannot condone nor stand idly by as North Carolina moves to legalize and institutionalize discrimination against the LGBT community." The law is "a license to discriminate," they added, and the NBA shouldn't allow its "premier annual event to be hosted in such a state."
Kirk, up for re-election in November, is one of four Senate Republicans who support same-sex marriage. The other signatories are Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Patty Murray (Wash.), and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.). Amid a growing national backlash against the law, Gov. Pat McCrory ordered changes on Tuesday to some of its provisions. Bruce Springsteen famously canceled a concert in the state because of the law, but several country music stars have also criticized the law and another new anti-LGBT law in Mississippi, warning that a similar bill under consideration in Tennessee could hurt Nashville's economy.