Greater Louisville Inc. changed fall trip after North Carolina p - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Greater Louisville Inc. changed fall trip after North Carolina passed controversial LGBT law

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Kent Oyler, CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. Kent Oyler, CEO of Greater Louisville Inc.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Greater Louisville Inc. announced Thursday that Austin, Texas will be the destination for the chamber of commerce’s annual fall trip to learn about economic development approaches in other cities.

As late as March, however, GLI had planned to take its “GLIDE 2016” delegation of more-than 100 business people to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

But the trip was changed to Austin after North Carolina passed a law viewed as hostile toward gay and transgender people – what the American Civil Liberties Union calls the “most egregious, sweeping, hate-filled anti-LGBT legislation in this country’s history.”

GLI spokeswoman Alison Brotzge-Elder confirmed Friday that “some of our members and partners did express concern” over the controversial LGBT law, HB 2, which was passed and signed by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on March 23.

“As a membership organization, it is important that we take their concern into account and that is when we began looking into other destinations,” Brotzge-Elder said in email.

She added: “Once we examined the current political climate in North Carolina, it became apparent that we needed to move in another direction to get the most out of GLIDE 2016.”

The LGBT law was not the sole reason the trip destination was changed to Austin, she said. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer “was not available for the full date range we could secure at the hotel” in Raleigh-Durham, she said.

The chamber is hardly the only organization to shun North Carolina in the wake of the law’s passage.

A half-dozen performers including Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and Cirque du Soleil have canceled shows in protest of the law, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The National Basketball Association has said the 2017 All-Star Game could be moved from Charlotte, and the NCAA will require Greensboro and Charlotte to prove they will provide a discrimination-free zone in their respective arenas to keep hosting privileges for the NCAA tournament's first and second rounds in 2017 and 2018, according to ESPN.

Among other changes, the North Carolina law invalidated a Charlotte municipal ordinance protecting transgender people who use public restrooms based on their gender identity, and also nullified local ordinances around the state that would have expanded protections for the LGBT community, according to the Charlotte Observer.

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