At­tor­ney gen­eral bans travel to states with anti-gay laws

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

SACRA­MENTO, CALIF. | Cal­i­for­nia’s at­tor­ney gen­eral blocked state­funded travel to Texas and three other states on Thurs­day in re­sponse to what he con­sid­ers anti-gay rights laws en­acted this year.

Demo­cratic At­tor­ney Gen­eral Xavier Be­cerra added Texas, Alabama, South Dakota and Ken­tucky to the list of places where state em­ployee travel is re­stricted.

Law­mak­ers passed leg­is­la­tion last year ban­ning non-es­sen­tial travel to states with laws that dis­crim­i­nate against LGBT peo­ple. North Carolina, Kansas, Mis­sis­sippi and Ten­nessee are al­ready on the list.

Cal­i­for­nia tax­pay­ers’ money “will not be used to let peo­ple travel to states who chose to dis­crim­i­nate,” Mr. Be­cerra said.

It’s un­clear what prac­ti­cal ef­fect Cal­i­for­nia’s travel ban will have. The state law con­tains ex­emp­tions for some trips, such as travel needed to en­force Cal­i­for­nia law and to honor con­tracts made be­fore 2017.

Travel to con­fer­ences or outof-state train­ings are ex­am­ples of trips that could be blocked. Mr. Be­cerra’s of­fice couldn’t pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about how of­ten state em­ploy­ees have vis­ited the newly banned states.

Texas was added to the list be­cause of a law that al­lows child wel­fare or­ga­ni­za­tions to deny ser­vices and adop­tions to fam­i­lies be­cause of “sin­cerely held re­li­gious be­liefs” that Mr. Be­cerra’s of­fice says would al­low anti-gay dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Sim­i­lar laws were en­acted in Alabama and South Dakota. Ken­tucky’s new law could al­low anti-gay dis­crim­i­na­tion in schools, ac­cord­ing to Mr. Be­cerra’s of­fice.

A spokesman for Texas Gov. Greg Ab­bott, a Repub­li­can, dis­missed the move.

“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,” spokesman John Wittman said.

Fresno State, a public Cal­i­for­nia univer­sity, is sched­uled to play foot­ball against the Univer­sity of Alabama in Tuscaloosa this fall. A re­quest for a le­gal opin­ion on whether public univer­sity sports’ travel is ex­empt from the ban has been filed with Mr. Be­cerra’s of­fice, but no rul­ing has been is­sued.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s press of­fice did not have an im­me­di­ate com­ment.

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