California has banned non-essential state-funded travel to four states in response to what Attorney General Xavier Becerra has decided are anti-LGBT rights laws those states have enacted over the past year.
Texas, Alabama, South Dakota and Kentucky join the list first created last year. North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee were the first states put on the list.
California tax dollars “will not be used to let people travel to states who chose to discriminate,” Becerra said.
“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,” he said.
Texas shrugged aside Becerra’s action.
“California may be able to stop their state employees, but they can’t stop all the businesses that are fleeing over taxation and regulation and relocating to Texas,” said John Wittman, a spokesman for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican.
Becerra could not provide information about the number of state-funded trips to those states, which could include conferences or training events.
Fresno State University has a football game scheduled against the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., this fall. Becerra’s office has not said whether that game is covered by the ban.
Some say isolation is the wrong response.
“The law is a juvenile but well-intended reaction to a real problem,” said Mark Rivera, a University of California, Davis senior majoring in religious studies and cognitive science, who spoke in February about the state’s travel ban law.
At that time, UCLA was reportedly in the process of no longer scheduling athletic events involving colleges and venues in banned states.
“Instead of discouraging travel to supposedly backward places, we should encourage travel; otherwise, campuses will become more insular and make the problem worse,” he said.
Becerra’s office said Alabama, South Dakota and Texas were targeted because of laws that could possibly prevent LGBT parents from adopting or becoming foster parents. A Kentucky law Becerra’s office said could be used to allow student-run organizations to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity earned that state a spot on the blacklist. VIA