California bans state-funded employee travel to FL, 4 more states due to anti-LGBTQ laws

California bans state-funded employee travel to FL, 4 more states due to anti-LGBTQ laws

06/30/2021

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Yesterday we discussed the Supreme Court victory for Gavin Grimm and transgender high school students. Supreme Court precedent is one of the ways to get federal legislation, so these victories are very important. That decision also stands as a beacon of hope in a devastating year of anti-trans laws being passed within the US, especially directed at LGBTQ youth. On the West Coast, California made its own statement in further support of the LGBTQ community. Monday, CA Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia would be added to the list of places banned for state-funded travel due to their discriminatory LGBTQ laws. NPR has more on Bonta’s statement.

California added five more states, including Florida, to the list of places where state-funded travel is banned because of laws that discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community, the state attorney general announced Monday.

Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta added Florida, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia to the list that now has 17 states where state employee travel is forbidden except under limited circumstances.

“Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country — and the State of California is not going to support it,” Bonta said.

Lawmakers in 2016 banned non-essential travel to states with laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The 12 other states on the list are: Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee.

[From NPR]

CA has already banned non-essential travel to, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas for discriminatory laws. NPR breaks down the recently added state’s offenses: FL, MT, AR and WV passed laws that prevent transgender athletes from participating in women’s school sports consistent with their gender identity. ND signed a bill that lets publicly funded student groups restrict LGBTQ students from joining and AR signed that horrible law that prohibits doctors from performing gender-affirming healthcare to minors.

The article said that exemptions must be made for travel needed to “enforce California law” and to “honor contracts signed before the states were added to the list.” It also points out that no one really knows if this ban will have any impact on the banned states at all so for the most part, this is a symbolic gesture. I think it’s an important statement for a state to make, especially at a time when a community is being attacked on such a large scale. It shows they have strong allies still, and not just when it’s profitable during Pride month. The reason Bonta gave for the ban is that the lawmakers in those states, “would rather demonize trans youth than focus on solving real issues like tackling gun violence beating back this pandemic and rebuilding our economy,” which is a good statement. I hope we are prepared to make equally bold comments for other injustices when the time comes. And, perhaps, turn the mirror on ourselves when we need to solve other real issues.

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