California bans state-funded travel to Florida and 4 other red states


California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks at Ruby Bridges Elementary School in Alameda, California on March 16, 2021. | AP Photo / Jeff Chiu

OAKLAND – California adds Florida and four other states to its official travel ban list after Attorney General Rob Bonta said Monday the states passed anti-LGBTQ laws that “target transgender youth directly.”

The announcement, made at a press conference to mark the 52nd anniversary of the Stonewall riots, means that California, under a 2016 law, bans government-funded travel in 17 states. Bonta announced that Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia are joining Florida as the newest states on the list.

“California must take steps to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from being sponsored or funded,” Bonta said.

Five years ago, California banned most taxpayer-sponsored travel to states believed to have passed laws that discriminate against LGBTQ people. The 1887 Assembly Bill was sparked by outrage in California over a law in North Carolina requiring people to use public toilets based on the sex listed on their birth certificate.

Before Bonta’s announcement on Monday, 12 more states were on the California blacklist: Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. The law provides limited exemptions such as: B. Travel necessary to enforce California law, participate in litigation, or protect public health. Have college teams private funds used continue to travel to prohibited states for sporting competitions.

The Human Rights Campaign, one of the largest LGBTQ advocacy groups in the country, says 2021 was a record year for anti-LGBTQ and anti-transgender laws proposed in more than a dozen states. The organization says it has pursued at least 117 bills tabled in the current legislature that target the transgender community.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing a spate of new laws going into the books in various states,” Bonta noted, aimed at preventing transgender youth from participating in sports teams or using toilets of their choice. Such laws “do not correspond to our values”. ‘said Bonta, “and we will not spend our government money on sending government employees to these states.”

California banned government-funded travel to Texas in 2017 after the country’s second most populous state allowed agencies to refuse adoptions of LGBTQ couples on religious grounds.

Texas asked the US Supreme Court to block California law in 2020. “Boycotting states based on nothing but political disagreement destroys the ability of states to serve as laboratories of democracy and at the same time to work together as a nation – exactly what our Constitution wanted to prevent,” wrote Attorney General Ken Paxton last year. But the higher court in April declined the request from Texas.

“It’s important that our state sends a strong message,” said Evan Low (D-Campbell), chairman of the California LGBTQ caucus, on Monday. He said that adding to the list also sends a message to government officials that they will not have to travel to states that discriminate against LGBTQ and trans youth and where “fear and hate motivate our opponents”.

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