Be­cerra puts sev­eral states on no-travel list

At­tor­ney gen­eral faces crit­i­cism in dis­pute over LGBTQ rights.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - PA­TRICK McGREEVY pa­trick.mcgreevy @la­ Twit­ter: @mc­greevy99

— Cal­i­for­nia of­fi­cials faced crit­i­cism Friday for bar­ring of­fi­cial travel by gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees to sev­eral states in a dis­pute over laws af­fect­ing the LGBTQ com­mu­nity.

It started Thursday when Cal­i­for­nia Atty. Gen. Xavier Be­cerra pro­hib­ited state em­ploy­ees from of­fi­cial travel to Alabama, Ken­tucky, South Dakota and Texas based on his de­ter­mi­na­tion that they have en­acted laws that are dis­crim­i­na­tory based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and gen­der iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“Each of those states in the re­cent weeks have en­acted leg­is­la­tion that may de­prive some of the in­di­vid­u­als of those states and in­di­vid­u­als who visit those states of their con­sti­tu­tional rights,” Be­cerra said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in San Fran­cisco.

The ac­tion drew crit­i­cism from the of­fices of Texas’ and Ken­tucky’s gov­er­nors, which noted that Cal­i­for­nia has its own prob­lems to deal with.

“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,” John Wittman, Texas Gov. Greg Ab­bott’s press sec­re­tary, said Friday.

A spokesman for Ken­tucky Gov. Matt Bevin also crit­i­cized Cal­i­for­nia of­fi­cials.

“It is fas­ci­nat­ing that the very same West Coast lib­er­als who rail against the pres­i­dent’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der, that pro­tects our nation from for­eign ter­ror­ists, have now con­trived their own travel ban aimed at pun­ish­ing states who don’t fall in lock­step with their far-left political ide­ol­ogy,” said Woody Maglinger, Bevin’s press sec­re­tary.

The Cal­i­for­nia Leg­is­la­ture approved a bill last year that pro­hibits state-sancSACRAMENTO tioned travel to North Carolina, Mis­sis­sippi, Kansas, Ten­nessee and other states with laws that dis­crim­i­nate based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or gen­der iden­tity.

The mea­sure was in re­sponse to a North Carolina bill that over­turned an or­di­nance in the city of Char­lotte that al­lowed trans­gen­der peo­ple to use pub­lic re­strooms based on the gen­der with which they most iden­tify.

“There are con­se­quences to dis­crim­i­na­tion,” Be­cerra said. “Re­strict­ing state­spon­sored travel is a con­se­quence.”

Be­cerra put Texas on the travel-ban list af­ter the gover­nor last week signed HB 3859, al­low­ing foster care agencies to deny adop­tions and ser­vices to chil­dren and par­ents based on “sin­cerely held re­li­gious be­liefs.” Be­cerra said the mea­sure allows agencies to dis­crim­i­nate against chil­dren in foster care and po­ten­tially dis­qual­ify LGBTQ fam­i­lies from the state’s foster and adop­tion sys­tem.

He put Ken­tucky on the banned-travel list for a new law signed in March that Be­cerra said could al­low stu­dent-run or­ga­ni­za­tions in col­leges and K-12 schools to dis­crim­i­nate against class­mates based on their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or gen­der iden­tity.

“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,” Be­cerra said. A spokesman de­clined to com­ment on the crit­i­cisms from Texas and Ken­tucky.

The ban comes just as some Cal­i­for­nia politi­cians are head­ing to Dal­las to at­tend the an­nual con­fer­ence of the Na­tional Assn. of Latino Elected and Ap­pointed Of­fi­cials this week.

Sen. Ri­cardo Lara (DBell Gar­dens), who is gay, is in Texas to at­tend the con­fer­ence. A spokesman said Lara is us­ing his own money, not tax­payer funds, and felt the event was im­por­tant amid the de­bate over im­mi­gra­tion law.

“Texas just passed one of the nation’s most an­ti­im­mi­grant laws with Se­nate Bill 4, and Cal­i­for­nia went down this road with Propo­si­tion 187 more than 20 years ago,” Lara said. “With LGBT and im­mi­grant rights un­der as­sault across the coun­try, I thought it was im­por­tant to join other Latino lead­ers and show Cal­i­for­nia’s ex­am­ple.”

Rich Pe­dron­celli AP

ATTY. GEN. Xavier Be­cerra has barred of­fi­cial travel to Ken­tucky, Texas and other states.

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