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Equality NC gets huge boost from NFL team in HB2 fight

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San Francisco 49ers make big donation to anti-HB2 effort.

San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York pledged $75,000 to the Equality North Carolina Foundation, an organization which is backing a repeal of a law he believes discriminates.

York made the pledge through the team while attending the NFL owners meetings Tuesday in Charlotte.

Equality NC's Executive Director, Greensboro State Rep. Chris Sgro says it's one of the largest donations in ENC's history.

"(Checks that large) certainly don't come in every day; I wish they did," Sgro said. "We really want to make this a meaningful impact on the state of North Carolina."

The donation comes from a football team that plays in one of the nation's most LGBT-friendly cities. York told the San Francisco Chronicle, "When you see something that to me is blatant disregard for human rights ... I wanted to make sure we did something and didn't stand for discrimination."

York said he has a friend that is connected with the LGBT community in Charlotte, and "If we are having a meeting here, I wanted to do something."

He added that there are a lot of things that are misconstrued about the law, saying there is a "fear mongering campaign" when it comes to transgender people using public bathrooms.

Asked where the money would be spent, Sgro said: "When we are fighting HB2, we are elevating the voices of members of the transgender community. And, making sure that we're working to educate people of North Carolina. That's a huge part of this fight-that's what this money is going to be spent on."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is opposed to discrimination "in any form."

"It is very important to us to have diversity," Goodell said. "We made that clear publicly. We made that clear in other situations. We made that clear a long time ago. The city of Charlotte has continued to fight this issue."

Goodell pointed out the NFC champion Panthers play in Charlotte and that "we want to work with the community. We're not going to threaten the community. We're going to work with the community to make the effective changes that are necessary long-term."

Tjhe donation came on a day when left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) said Tuesday that 35 percent of North Carolina voters support the controversial HB2 law and 44 percent oppose in its latest survey.

PPP spoke with 928 registered voters from May 20-22. The margin of error for the poll is +/-3.2%.

HB2 was designed to block a Charlotte non-discrimination ordinance, part of which allowed transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with. The law also excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from anti-discrimination protections and blocks municipalities from adopting their own anti-discrimination and living wage rules.

RELATED: Faith leaders say comparing HB2 with Civil Rights Movement 'offensive'

The Obama administration says it's a violation of the Civil Rights Act and the Department of Justice and North Carolina Republican leaders now have competing lawsuits over the issue in federal court.

Breaking down the numbers, PPP said it found a lot more Republicans (28 percent) oppose the law than Democrats support it (16 percent).


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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