California bars state-funded travel to 5 more states over LGBT laws; 17 now banned
AG says state is 'aligning our dollars with our values'
California added Florida, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia to its list of states banned from state-funded, state-sponsored travel due to a wave recently passed legislation that California Democrats deems “discriminatory” toward LGBT individuals.
As a result of the change, California state travel will be restricted to 17 states due to a difference in policies related to LGBT discrimination.
The California Attorney General's Office alleges the five newly added states to the state-funded travel ban are a “part of a recent, dangerous wave of discriminatory new bills signed into law” that “directly work to ban transgender youth from playing sports, block access to life-saving care or otherwise limit the rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
“When states discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans, California law requires our office to take action,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement. “These new additions to the state-funded travel restrictions list are about exactly that.”
The other 12 states already prohibited from California state-sponsored travel are Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
“It’s been 52 years to the day since the Stonewall Riots began, but that same fight remains all too alive and well in this country,” Bonta continued. “Rather than focusing on solving real issues, some politicians think it’s in their best interest to demonize trans youth and block life-saving care.”
“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 continued.
Through Assembly Bill 1887, passed in 2016, the California legislature determined the state of California must “take action to avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”
This legislation prohibits a state agency, department, board, or commission from requiring any state employees, officers, or members to travel to a state that had enacted a discriminatory LGBT law after June 26, 2015.
Bonta said A.B. 1887 is “about aligning our dollars with our values.”
It also requires the attorney general to maintain an updated list of the travel ban on the website, which applies to state agencies, departments, boards, authorities, commissions and California state universities.
There are exceptions to the rule that only apply in some instances and if travel to said states is “required.”
The five newly added states were added over objections to various bills, but most joined the list due to passing bills that restrict trans-identified biological males from competing in women’s sports competitions.
"It's unfortunate that some politicians would rather demonize trans youth than focus on solving real issues like tackling gun violence, beating back this pandemic and rebuilding our economy," Bonta said at a news conference Monday, CNN reported.
State-funded travel to Florida, for example, was banned because Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation known as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act on the first day of Pride Month that prevents biological males who identify as females from competing in women’s sports.
“Women have fought for decades to have equal opportunities in athletics, and we have to prevent those opportunities from being eroded as is happening in other states. It’s common sense,” DeSantis said in a statement on the prohibition of trans-identified males women's and girls' athletics competitions.
Travel to Arkansas was similarly banned due to recently passed legislation prohibiting biological males who identify as females from competing in women’s sports.
Bonta also objected to Arkansas' passing of legislation that allows healthcare providers to deny sex-change surgeries and cross-sex hormones due to their religious and conscience objections. Arkansas also passed the first law that prohibits physicians from providing gender-affirming healthcare to transgender minors.
West Virginia and Montana were banned because they prohibit trans-identified biological males competing in women’s sports, as well as other LGBT-specific legislation that California deems “discrimination.”
Montana also passed a law that "overrides existing state and local laws and policies that prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans," a statement from Bonta's office explains.
Emily Wood is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org