California Bans State-Funded Travel to Four States with Anti-LGBT Laws

Pier 39 in San Francisco

In September, California passed a law that prohibits state-sponsored travel to states with legislation deemed to be discriminatory to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups. As of Jan. 1, the law is now in effect.

The new law was created in response to legislation in states such as North Carolina, which has caused an uproar across the country with its House Bill 2 (HB2) law forcing transgender individuals to use restrooms in public schools and government buildings that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate, rather than the gender they identify with.

Since it was passed in March, the HB2 law has caused many groups to reconsider holding events in the state. Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the NBA, NCAA and ACC have all pulled their tournaments from the state. Several major corporations, including Paypal and Deutsche Bank, have also canceled plans to open or expand offices in North Carolina.

Forbes estimates that HB2 has cost the state at least $630 million dollars in lost revenue as of Nov. 2016. During December, after North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory lost his bid for reelection, North Carolina’s legislature tried but failed come to an agreement that would repeal the law.

California is not the first state to ban state travel to North Carolina. Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia, as well as a number of counties across the country, have enacted similar travel policies.

The other states listed in California’s ban are Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. In March, Kansas passed a law that allows religious student groups at public universities to deny membership to LGBT students based on their beliefs. Mississippi’s Religious Liberty Accommodations Act states that marriage is a union of one man and one women and allows religious organizations to deny employment or services to certain LGBT individuals if it is against their beliefs. The law was to be enacted on Jul. 1, but a U.S. District Court Judge filed an injunction to block it.

In April, Tennessee passed a law enabling counselors and therapists to decline to serve LGBT individuals if it violates their beliefs. In response to this, the American Counseling Association, which planned to hold its 2017 national convention in Nashville, decided to move its event—and an estimated $5 million in spending—to San Francisco, instead.