California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Thursday that his state would prohibit state-funded and state-sponsored travel to Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas because of discriminatory legislation enacted in those states that targets LGBT Americans.
Becerra said, according to the California Department of Justice:
Our country has made great strides in dismantling prejudicial laws that have deprived too many of our fellow Americans of their precious rights. Sadly, that is not the case in all parts of our nation, even in the 21st century. I am announcing today that I am adding four states to the list of states where California-funded or sponsored travel will be restricted on account of the discriminatory nature of laws enacted by those states.
While the California DOJ works to protect the rights of all our people, discriminatory laws in any part of our country send all of us several steps back. That’s why when California said we would not tolerate discrimination against LGBTQ members of our community, we meant it.
A state bill, A.B. 1887, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2017, prohibits state-funded and state-sponsored travel to states with laws that authorize or require discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expressions, or against same-sex couples or their families. All state agencies, departments, boards, authorities and commissions fall under this restriction, including any agency, department, board, authority or commission of the University of California, the Board of Regents of the University of California and the California State University.
The latest states added to the travel ban list and their related legislation are as follows:
- Alabama: H.B. 24 was enacted May 2, 2017. H.B. 24 could prevent qualified prospective LGBT parents from adopting or serving as foster parents.
- Kentucky: S.B. 17 was enacted March 16, 2017. S.B. 17 could allow student-run organizations in colleges and K-12 schools to discriminate against classmates based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- South Dakota: S.B. 149 was enacted March 10, 2017. S.B. 149 could prevent qualified LGBT couples from adopting or serving as foster parents.
- Texas: H.B. 3859 was enacted June 15, 2017. H.B. 3859 allows foster care agencies to discriminate against children in foster care and potentially disqualify LGBT families from the state’s foster and adoption system.
Under former attorney general, now-Sen. Kamala Harris, the state had already banned travel to Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi and Kansas for similar reasons. A.B. 1887 was created in response to North Carolina’s infamous “bathroom bill,” otherwise known as H.B. 2.
Civil rights organizations applauded California’s actions.
“These discriminatory laws in Texas, North Carolina, South Dakota and other states are completely out of step with the values that make California the vibrant economic powerhouse that it is,” Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, said, according to the California DOJ. “As some state legislatures around the country choose to target and harm LGBTQ people and their families, it is imperative that California continue to denounce those actions publicly and financially. We applaud Attorney General Becerra for taking action to ensure that California is supporting the LGBTQ community and opposing discrimination both inside and beyond our borders.”
“Today, the ACLU is proud to stand with our partners and Attorney General Becerra, and do our part to make freedom and justice a reality for every American—regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” Ashley Morris, organizing director of the ACLU of Northern California, said, according to the California DOJ.
Read more at the California Department of Justice.