Photo Credit: Photo credit: FG Trade
California Reevaluates State Business Travel Ban to States with Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws
In 2016, California took a stand against discrimination by implementing a state-funded travel ban to states with anti-LGBTQ+ laws. This decision was prompted by North Carolina’s controversial restroom law. As the landscape of anti-LGBTQ+ laws spreads across the United States, Democratic lawmakers in California are proposing a shift in strategy. This shift is prompting a reconsideration of the state’s travel ban.
26 States Have Laws That Are Discriminatory Towards LGBTQ+
Initially covering four states, California’s travel ban expanded over the years to encompass 26 states. The ban aimed to economically pressure these states to reconsider their legislation and promote inclusivity. While the ban was intended as a statement against discrimination, it also created certain challenges for academics, researchers and professionals.
Democratic state Senate leader Toni Atkins is spearheading the proposed change in strategy. Atkins acknowledges that the travel ban served a purpose, but she believes it’s time for a new approach. Instead of isolating California from states with anti-LGBTQ+ laws, she suggests focusing on building personal relationships. Atkins argues that these connections can lead to changed perspectives and increased inclusivity.
One example of the impact of the travel ban is highlighted by Marc Stein, a professor at San Francisco State University. As a researcher in LGBTQ+ history, Stein’s work often requires him to travel to states affected by the ban. He explains that the ban hindered his research and made it difficult. The ban also causes issues in obtaining reimbursement for expenses related to his studies. The ban constrained the topics graduate students could explore. This limited their ability to engage with important historical events and subjects related to LGBTQ+ rights.
Will California Compromise?
Everyone in the LGBTQ+ academic and activist community does not agree with the proposed strategy shift. Stein, for instance, believes that ending the travel ban sends a message that the arguments posed by states with discriminatory laws are effective. He is concerned that California would be compromising its core values by lifting the ban for states with anti-LGBTQ+ laws.
Wit Tuttell, the director of Visit North Carolina, acknowledges that California’s travel ban negatively impacted some states. Organizations considering hosting conventions or meetings might opt for other states due to the ban, thus affecting the local economy. Tuttell emphasizes that the ban’s influence isn’t limited to events that directly cite the ban as the reason for their choices.
As the debate over California’s travel ban continues, it’s evident that both sides have valid concerns and perspectives. The ban has generated unintended challenges and discussions within the LGBTQ+ community and academia. The proposed shift toward engagement and relationship building is an attempt to tackle discrimination on a more personal level. As the nation’s understanding of LGBTQ+ rights evolves, finding the right balance between principled standpoints and practical implications will remain a key challenge for California’s lawmakers and its LGBTQ+ community.