California attorney general Rob Bonta announced a ban on state-funded travel to five states on Monday, citing new laws in those states pertaining to transgender people.
The California legislature banned state-funded travel to states with laws deemed discriminatory toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Bonta cited examples of new laws in Arkansas, Florida, Montana, West Virginia, and North Dakota that mandate that student athletes play on sports teams according to their biological sex or that block access to gender-transition surgery and treatments.
“Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country — and the State of California is not going to support it,” Bonta said at a press conference. Lawmakers from those states “would rather demonize trans youth than focus on solving real issues like tackling gun violence, beating back this pandemic, and rebuilding our economy.”
California already had banned state-funded travel to twelve other states over laws pertaining to LGBT people, namely Texas, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Idaho, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Texas attorney general Ken Paxton asked the Supreme Court to reverse California’s ban in February 2020; however, the Court refused to hear the case in April of this year. Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt imposed a ban on state-funded travel to California in January 2020, two years after California banned state travel to Oklahoma.