California adds 5 more to their state-funded travel ban, citing anti-LGBTQI+ legislation

Jun 29, 2021

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California added five more states to its list of places that are restricted for state-funded travel. It comes in response to recent anti-LGBTQI+ legislation, according to a press release from Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta.

California government employees will no longer be able to use state funds to travel to Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia, as first reported by the AP.

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“The states are a part of a recent, dangerous wave of discriminatory new bills signed into law in states across the country 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,” the press release said. “Many states pushing these new discriminatory laws are already on California’s travel restrictions list.”

alifornia Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks during a news conference at San Francisco General Hospital on June 10, 2021 in San Francisco,
California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks during a news conference at San Francisco General Hospital on June 10, 2021 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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The state’s travel restrictions list is a result of Assembly Bill 1887, enacted in 2016, which banned essential travel to states with laws deemed “discriminatory” and targeted toward the LGBTQI+ community. There will now be 17 places restricted to travel with limited circumstances, mostly in the South, including Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee.

“Assembly Bill 1887 is about aligning our dollars with our values. When states discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans, California law requires our office to take action,” Bonta said in a statement. “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.”

Arkansas was added to the list as a result of three pieces of legislation from March and April, specifically a bill that requires transgender women and girls to play on sports teams consistent with their identity at birth; a bill to allow medical providers to refuse care to LGBTQI+ individuals; and a bill to prohibit physicians from providing gender-affirming health care to transgender minors.

Related: California relaxing travel restrictions, but still discouraging visitors

“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,” said Bonta. “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 confirmed that Florida, Montana and West Virginia were all added to the list for passing legislation similar to Arkansas aimed at preventing transgender women and girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. The release cited laws in Montana and North Dakota that override existing policies prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQI+ individuals, including a Montana bill that enables business owners to refuse service to same-sex couples and a restriction on publicly funded student organizations at North Dakota universities and colleges.

Idaho, Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas were previously added to the list created by the California Legislature in 2015, restricting a “state agency, department, board, or commission from authorizing state-funded travel to a state that, after June 26, 2015, has enacted a law authorizing, or repealing existing protections against, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”

Featured photo from Ronald Reagan Library, Simi Valley, California, November 2006 by Patricia Marroquin/Getty Contributor.

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