California has expanded its list of states where state-funded travel is banned over laws its attorney general labeled a “wave of bigotry.”
According to NBC News, Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta added Florida, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia to states where its state employees are no longer allowed to travel unless under very limited circumstances.
“There is an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country,” Bonta said in a statement according to the outlet. “California will not support it. When states discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans, we take action.”
The state will allow exemptions for certain travel, such as when needed to enforce California law or to honor contracts signed before the travel ban went into effect.
California lawmakers first banned non-essential travel to states with laws they claimed to be discriminatory against LGBT people. Previously, the 12 states banned from travel were Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee.
The five latest states to be barred from non-essential travel have introduced legislation this year that would prevent transgender people participating in school sports according to their preferred or self-assigned gender identity, restrict access to certain healthcare options, and “allow the discrimination of the LGBTQ community,” Bonta said.
Florida, Montana, Arkansas, and West Virginia were among some states that passed laws specifically targeting transgender people identifying as women and girls from participating in female school sports divisions.
North Dakota passed a bill allowing some student organizations to bar LGBT students from joining without losing their public funding.
Arkansas became the first state in the nation to pass a law preventing physicians from giving “gender-affirming healthcare” to transgender-identifying children regardless of parental consent or a doctor’s orders.
Bonta declared that legislators in these states “would rather demonize trans youth than focus on solving real issues like tackling gun violence beating back this pandemic and rebuilding our economy.”
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