The Latest: Senators enter North Carolina gender dispute

AP News
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Posted: Apr 12, 2016 5:55 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on reaction to a North Carolina law that limits protection for lesbians, gays and transgender people (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is urging the National Basketball Association to move the 2017 NBA All-Star game away from Charlotte, North Carolina, because of a state law that limits protection for lesbians, gays and transgender people.

Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Patty Murray of Washington state, along with Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, wrote to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday.

The senators said they hold no ill will toward the people of Charlotte but cannot "stand idly by as North Carolina moves to legalize and institutionalize discrimination."

The senators said the NBA made history when Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete in a major U.S. sports league.

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5:45 p.m.

Rock 'n' roll fan Gov. Pat McCrory says he loves Bruce Springsteen's music but he says the Boss is wrong in opposing a law that overturned a city ordinance on gender discrimination and barred such ordinances statewide.

Springsteen canceled his concert last Sunday for Greensboro, North Carolina, citing the law McCrory signed. Guitarist Steven Van Zandt said such legislation is like an "evil virus" spreading around the U.S.

The state law came after Charlotte passed an ordinance allowing transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

McCrory said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press he thinks Springsteen and Van Zandt have "lost the pulse of the working-class men and women" who "agree with common-sense restroom and bathroom regulations" with the law.

It's not unusual to hear rock music playing on the stereo on the porch of the Executive Mansion.

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4:45 p.m.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says he listened to lots of feedback before announcing his executive action on a law that addresses gender-specific bathroom use and LGBT protections, but he knows it won't satisfy some critics on both sides.

McCrory told The Associated Press on Tuesday he's been working on his order since he signed the law three weeks ago. But he said in an interview he doesn't regret signing the law because Charlotte had forced the issue by its "government overreach" in an ordinance mandating more rules upon private businesses.

The governor also told the AP he's concerned that some companies have halted expansions in North Carolina since the law was approved but believes many businesses are misinformed about its contents. He says recent phone calls with corporate executives have "absolutely" prevented jobs and investment from going elsewhere.

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2:45 p.m.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says he wants lawmakers to restore the right to sue over discrimination in state court, but he's not challenging a new law on gender-specific bathroom access.

McCrory announced an executive order Tuesday in response to a wide-ranging bill he signed last month affecting the rights of lesbian, gay and transgender people.

His statement said that his order will maintain gender-specific restroom and locker room access in government buildings and schools.

He once again condemned a Charlotte ordinance passed earlier this year that allowed transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

The order would expand the state equal employment policy to include sexual orientation and gender.

He also says he will ask lawmakers to file legislation that allows people to sue in state court over discrimination — which had been wiped out by the law.

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2:05 p.m.

Two North Carolina craft breweries are making a protest beer in opposition to a North Carolina law affecting lesbian, gay and transgender rights.

Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough and Ponysaurus Brewing Company in Durham are leading the effort announced this week. They say 30 other breweries are pledging resources.

They're naming the beer "Don't Be Mean to People, A Golden Rule Saison." It will be made in Durham with North Carolina ingredients and will go on sale in May.

Profits from the beer will be donated to LGBT advocacy groups Equality NC and QORDS.

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12:30 p.m.

Several more groups are canceling planned conventions or gatherings in North Carolina because of a state law limiting protections for lesbians, gays and transgender people.

Ryan Smith, a spokeswoman for the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, says that five groups totaling about 1,000 attendees have already canceled. She said in an email the canceled events would have brought $730,000 to the area.

Smith said another 16 groups are considering cancellations of events expected to have an impact of $24 million on the area.

The B Lab, a group organizing a gathering for socially conscious companies, says that it's relocating the event that was expected to bring 550 attendees to Durham in October. Certified B Corporations are for-profit but meet strict criteria for social and environmental responsibility.

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11:45 a.m.

Entertainer Jimmy Buffett says he's not canceling two North Carolina concerts even though he thinks the state enacted a "stupid law" limiting protections for lesbians, gays and transgender people.

Buffett says he will perform scheduled shows in Raleigh on April 21 and Charlotte on April 23. But in a blog post he says scheduling of future shows will depend on whether the law is repealed.

Bruce Springsteen's cancellation in Greensboro over the weekend put the spotlight on big-name performers coming through the state.

Buffett condemns the law on his blog and says he thinks most of his fans feel the same way. But he says fans bought tickets long before the law was enacted last month. He adds: "I am not going to let stupidity or bigotry trump fun for my loyal fans this year."

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11:15 a.m.

Deutsche Bank is halting plans to add 250 jobs in North Carolina because of a state law limiting protections for lesbians, gays and transgender people.

Previously, the bank had planned to add the jobs through next year in Cary.

But on Tuesday co-executive officer John Cryan said the company is "unwilling to include North Carolina in its U.S. expansion plans for now," because of the law. He said the German bank may revisit the plans later.

The bank currently employs 900 people at a Cary software development center, and it said it plans to sustain that existing operation.

The law passed last month overrules LGBT antidiscrimination measures passed by local governments. It also excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from the state's antidiscrimination policy.