Minnesota college system bars team travel to North Carolina

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A Minnesota state university system is prohibiting athletics teams from traveling to tournaments in North Carolina this spring after our state passed a law limiting LGBT protections.

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system communications director Doug Anderson said no teams will participate in tournaments in North Carolina this spring. The NCAA Division II national baseball tournament and National Junior College Athletic Association Division III World Series are set to take place in North Carolina.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton directed state employees last month to stop nonessential travel to North Carolina because of its new law limiting protections for gays, lesbians and transgender people.

House Bill 2, which was approved by the Republican legislature and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory on March 23, was in response to a Charlotte City Council ordinance approved in February that would have extended protections to gays and lesbians as well as bisexual and transgender people while at hotels, restaurants, and stores. Charlotte would have allowed transgender people to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity.

HB2 also blocked people from filing discrimination suits against their employers and prevents local governments from setting minimum wage standards.

Anderson said system presidents met this week, concluding "that athletics-related travel is nonessential for the purposes of this directive."

Since the passage of the controversial law in our state, a string of entertainers and musicians - including Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas, and Cirque du Soleil - have canceled shows in North Carolina. The NBA has also said a change in HB2 is needed for the 2017 All-Star Game to stay in Charlotte.

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