Signaling that it will continue to press House Bill 2 as a campaign issue, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign plans to post an interview critical of the controversial law with Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player.
In the interview, which is to appear on the blogging site Medium, Collins said he’s pleased that the sports community is pulling events from North Carolina. HB2 has led the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA to take a series of championships from the state and cost millions in lost jobs and canceled performances. The NBA also pulled the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.
“If you’re truly a citizen of North Carolina, then you should care about every other citizen in your community,” Collins said. “…When you have a law like HB2 … it doesn’t make the fans comfortable traveling to the state. We see it in the business community. We see it with the sports community.”
In a campaign stop in Greensboro last week, Clinton reiterated her criticism of HB2.
“If anyone wonders what the costs of discrimination are, just ask the people and businesses of North Carolina,” she said. “Witness what’s happening with the NCAA and the ACC. This is where bigotry leads, and we can’t afford it, not here or anywhere else.”
Collins blamed Republican leaders for the uproar, calling it a “self-inflicted wound they are doing to their state.”
Dallas Woodhouse, executive director for the N.C. Republican Party, blamed Democrats, who GOP leaders say have sabotaged a potential deal on HB2 this week.
“They should have Mr. Collins speak to (N.C. Rep.) Becky Carney and (Democratic gubernatorial candidate) Roy Cooper who killed an almost certain situation where HB2 was going to be repealed,” Woodhouse said. “…. We have contended all along that this was political.”
HB2 rescinded the Charlotte ordinance that extended nondiscrimination protections to the LGBT community and prevented other local governments from adopting similar ordinances. HB2 requires people in government facilities to use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates.
Polls show Democrat Clinton is in a tight race in North Carolina, a key battleground state, with Republican Donald Trump. An Elon University poll released this week found 49.5 percent of those surveyed opposed to HB2, with 39.5 percent in support. Staff writer Jim Morrill contributed.