California Restricts Government-sponsored Travel to Conservative States

Last week, Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that Florida and four additional states enacted anti-LGBTQ policies that directly attack trans people; as a result, California put these states on its formal travel sanctions list.

California is officially restricting government travel to 17 American states, according to legislation announced at a news conference on the 52nd commemoration of Stonewall. Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia have joined Florida as the latest states also on the blacklist, according to Bonta.

This is Not the First Time

California banned major government travel to jurisdictions believed to have enacted laws discriminating against LGBTQ individuals five years earlier. 

Most red states are already on the ban list, according to Bonta’s declaration on Monday. Travelers required to enforce Californian law, engaging in lawsuits, or safeguard public health are among the few exceptions to the legislation. College sports teams have continued to compete in forbidden states with the help of private financing.

According to the Civil Liberties Movement, one of America’s major LGBTQ advocacy organizations, anti-LGBTQ, and right-wing laws has been introduced in over 12 states this year, setting a new high. According to the organization, at least 117 proposals aimed at the transgender population have been introduced in the present session of Congress.

Sadly, we’re witnessing a wave of new legislation enacted in several jurisdictions that try to prevent LGBT adolescents from joining sports teams and then using the toilets of their choosing, Bonta said. Such policies are incompatible with our beliefs, Bonta added, saying that the state will not pay for the travel of employees to those areas.

California prohibited government-funded traveling to Texas in 2017 just after the country’s second-largest state-permitted adoption services to refuse LGBTQ families on religious grounds.

Texas Faught Back

Texas petitioned the United States Supreme Court in 2020 to have California’s law struck down.

That year, state Attorney Ken Paxton said boycotting states predicated on nothing other than political differences disintegrates states’ ability to act as experiments of democracy even while functioning with each other as one nation — the very things our Founders meant to prevent.

Texas’ plea was dismissed by the Supreme Court in April.

It’s critical for California to send a clear message, says the governor.

Assemblymember Evan Low is the chairman of the California Legislature LGBTQ Coalition. The list’s extension also conveys a signal to state employees that they’ll never be obliged to go to jurisdictions that discriminate towards LGBTQ and transgender children, or where our adversaries are driven by anger and paranoia, according to him.

This act from California further highlights the growing divide between the red and blue states. Should these restrictions continue to escalate, soon the conservative states will be fully isolated from the remainder of the United States. 

Red states have not retaliated with divisive measures of their own. This is proof as to which side of the aisle the division is coming from.