Atlanta, Minnesota Ban Official Travel to North Carolina

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

The fallout from North Carolina’s recently enacted anti-LGBT law continues to mount, with more cities and states banning nonessential official travel to the state by government employees.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed joined in Monday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. “As a result of Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to sign discriminatory and unnecessary legislation into law, effective today I am directing all city departments to stop non-essential, publicly-funded employee travel to the state of North Carolina,” said a statement issued by the mayor. “Every person, regardless of their gender, gender expression or sexuality is a valued member of our community.”

North Carolina’s law, signed by McCrory two weeks ago, prevents cities from enacting or enforcing antidiscrimination laws that include sexual orientation or gender identity. It also bars transgender people from using the restrooms and other sex-segregated facilities in public buildings that comport with their gender identity. It was a reaction to the Charlotte City Council’s passage of an LGBT-inclusive public accommodations law, which would have affirmed trans people’s right to the facilities of their choice.

“While Reed’s ban is somewhat symbolic — his office couldn’t immediately say how many employees traveled to North Carolina on business last year — it ratchets up the political pressure on, and national disdain for, McCrory and North Carolina,” the Journal-Constitution notes.

Over the weekend, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton issued a similar order, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. “I am proud of Minnesota for the progress we have achieved to protect the rights and dignity of all people in our state,” he said in a statement released Saturday. “When the rights of some Americans are threatened, it is the responsibility of all Americans to stand in opposition to those discriminatory acts. Therefore, I have instructed employees in all state agencies to refrain from traveling to North Carolina for conferences or other official state business, until the North Carolina governor and State Legislature repeal the discriminatory law they enacted.”

Dayton’s order will have some impact in the near future, the paper reports, as the state’s public transit agency will cancel scheduled employee trips to the American Public Transit Association Conference and International Bus Roadeo, to be held in Charlotte in May.

Other cities banning publicly funded employee travel to North Carolina include San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C. States include Vermont, Washington, New York, and Connecticut. There has also been much condemnation of the law by business leaders; PayPal has canceled plans for a new facility in Charlotte, and more than 100 other businesses have registered their objections to the legislation.

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