Ten mayors have come together to form a coaliton united in protest against states that are passing anti-LGBT laws.
The group is called Mayors Against Discrimination, and the members came together "in the wake of recent discriminatory laws enacted against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals," says a press release from the office of out Seattle Mayor Edward B. Murray.
Along with working together to ban travel to states that pass anti-LGBT legislation, the mayors will coordinate to examine "prohibitions on contracting and purchasing from companies in these states," along with developing "model resolutions that can be adopted by city councils and other legislative bodies," says the press release.
Mayors Against Discrimination also announced plans to work with private sector leaders and companies, such as Wells Fargo, Starbucks, Marc Benioff from Salesforce, and others to "apply direct political and economic pressure to repeal or stop the alarming spread of discriminatory laws in the United States." The Mayors Against Discrimination coalition currently includes the mayors of Seattle; New York City; Philadelphia; Portland, Ore.; Oakland, Calif.; Honolulu Sante Fe, N.M.; Washington, D.C., and Tampa, Fla.
“Seattle is proud to stand with other cities who defend equality and inclusion for everyone," Murray says in the release. “By joining together in this effort, we are creating a coalition of mayors across the country to combat discrimination of any kind and to protect civil rights everywhere."
The mayors have all banned nonessential employee travel to North Carolina, after the state passed House Bill 2. HB 2 struck down LGBT-inclusive municipal antidiscrimination ordinances statewide and prohibits cities from adopting any new ones. It also expressly bars transgender from using public bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.
The mayors also banned travel to the state of Mississippi,after the state passed House Bill 1523, a bill that allows businesses, individuals, and religiously affiliated organizations to deny service to LGBT people and anyone else who somehow offends an individual's "sincerely held religious belief." It also directly targets transgender residents, effectively claiming that one's sex assigned at birth is immutable and will be the only gender recognized by the state.
This reaction from mayors across the U.S. is similar to the backlash against Indiana’s so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act last year. After Gov. Mike Pence signed RFRA, the governors of Connecticut, New York, and Washington all halted official travel to the Hoosier State. The law, which cost the state an estimated $60 million in boycotts, was later amended to assure it would not allow discrimination.