California Travel Ban
The state of California has banned all state-funded and state-sponsored travel to the state of Oklahoma, in response to the state’s controversial LGBT adoption bill.
The new law allows private adoption and foster care agencies to reject applications from same-sex couples based on religious or moral grounds, and still be allowed to receive state funding.
The California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, announced the ban on Friday the 1st of June to coincide with the start of gay pride month.
#Oklahoma will be added to the list of restricted states for state-funded travel based on the discriminatory law that would allow private adoption agencies to refuse services to #LGBTQ parents & foster children based on religious/moral grounds. #PrideMonthhttps://t.co/FIL1YfsLxn
— Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) June 1, 2018
Oklahoma has become the ninth U.S state on California’s list of states to which state travel is prohinited. Travel to Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas had been previously banned using the 2017 law (AB 1887), which bans travel to states that authorize discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
In a press release Attorney General Becerra stated that “California law requires that my office identify and maintain a list of states which are off-limits for state-funded or state-sponsored travel.” He said “California will not use state resources to support states that pass discriminatory laws. The law enacted in Oklahoma allows discrimination against LGBTQ children and aspiring LGBTQ parents who must navigate the adoption process. California taxpayers are taking a stand against bigotry and in support of those who would be harmed by this prejudiced policy.”
Response from the LGBT Community
Following the attorney generals statement, California LGBT leaders praised the decision in a series of statements of their own.
Equaility California Executive Director Rick Zbur said the community were grateful to Attorney General Becerra for supporting equality. “Every child deserves a loving, supportive family, and it’s neither pro-child, nor pro-family, for Oklahoma to deny them one” he said.
Evan Low, Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus said: “I stand with Attorney General Becerra as he holds our values high and ensures we do not put any state money behind other states’ discriminatory policies.”
Oklahoma on the Child Placement Law
Oklahoma Republican Govenor Mary Fallin signed the child placement bill on May the 11th, and has disputed criticism that the law is discriminatory. She said the state “will not be in any way restricting the current practice allowing LGBTQ individuals and couples” to adopt or become foster parents.
After the announcement on Friday, Michael McNutt, a spokesman for Governor Fallin said in a statement to USA TODAY “With our state’s economy being as strong as it is, we won’t miss a few Californians traveling on state business showing up in our state.”
Cynthia Reid, vice president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, said her chamber and its members had fought against the adoption law. “We opposed the legislation, as we oppose all discriminatory legislation,” she said. “One of the reasons we opposed it is for this reason (the California travel ban) right here.”
According to the attorney generals official website the ban will remain in place until:
‘The prohibition on state-funded travel shall continue while any such law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression remains in effect.’
California has been roundly praised for its decisive action in tackling this type of discrimination, although it does have critics of its own in enacting the travel ban. The ban itself shows the systemic issues faced by the U.S, and the ever increasing rift dividing the country.
LGBT Pride Month
Gay pride month runs for the entire month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, New York. The Stonewall riots were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. As a result, many pride events are held across the world during this month to recognize the impact LGBT people have had in the world.
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