California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced on Monday that California would restrict state-funded travel to Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia because of the “anti-LGBTQ+ legislation” recently enacted in these states, increasing the number of the targeted states to a total of 17.
“Assembly Bill 1887 is about aligning our dollars with our values,” Bonta said at a news conference. “When states discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans, California law requires our office to take action.”
Assembly Bill 1887 became part of California law in 2016 in response to a North Carolina law that requires people to use public bathrooms according to the sex shown on their birth certificate.
The law (pdf) prohibits government agencies from approving state-funded travels to a state which enacted a law with “discrimination against same-sex couples or their families or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression,” with some exceptions.
Some exceptions are travels for law enforcement, litigation, or to comply with requests by the federal government to appear before committees, among others.
“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 added.
Bonta pointed out on Twitter that in recent months, over 250 “anti-LGBTQ+ bills” were introduced in state legislatures, and 95 of them are directly targeting transgender people.
The other 12 states that California banned state-funded travel to are Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.
In February 2020, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the Supreme Court to strike down California’s ban on Texas over its law that lets agencies place children only in houses with a married mother and father, among other provisions.
California asserted the law “does protect agencies that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
In its unsigned order, the Supreme Court said on April 26 it won’t hear the dispute but didn’t explain why justices rejected Paxton’s challenge.
In a dissent (pdf), Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, wondered why the court wouldn’t allow the filing.
“Can we justify our refusal to entertain Texas’s suit on essentially the same ground that we would reject out of hand in the hypothetical diversity case just described, that is, on the ground that our original jurisdiction no longer seems as important as it was when the Constitution was adopted, and that a proliferation of original cases would crowd out more important matters on our appellate docket?” Alito wrote at the time.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.