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Los Angeles Bans Official Travel to North Carolina, Mississippi

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

"We have seen both of these states pass legislation that betray the basic rights to equal protection and self-expression that all Americans are guaranteed by the Constitution," says Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Los Angeles has joined the chorus of cities banning official travel to North Carolina in protest of that state's anti-LGBT law, and the L.A. measure adds Mississippi as well.

The Los Angeles City Council adopted a resolution to this effect Friday, and Mayor Eric Garcetti will sign it next week, the mayor's office announced.

"I am proud to stand with the City Council today to enact a ban on nonessential travel for city employees to the states of North Carolina and Mississippi," Garcetti said in a press release. "In recent weeks, we have seen both of these states pass legislation that betray the basic rights to equal protection and self-expression that all Americans are guaranteed by the Constitution. These bills are thinly veiled as actions to preserve religious freedom or protect against sexual violence, but will instead promote intolerance and discrimination against the LGBT community."

North Carolina's law, House Bill 2, was passed in March and nullifies LGBT-inclusive municipal antidiscrimination ordinances, like one enacted by Charlotte in February, while preventing cities and counties from enacting new ones. It also bars transgender people from using the restrooms, locker rooms, and other single-sex facilities that match their gender identity, if those facilities are in government buildings, including public schools. And it prohibits residents from filing discrimination suits in state court.

Mississippi's House Bill 1523, the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, offers what opponents call a "license to discriminate" against LGBT people and others. It states that the government cannot penalize an individual, organization, or business for acting according to the following "sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions": that "marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman"; that "sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage"; and that "male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth." It was passed early this month.

Many businesses, politicians, and entertainers have spoken out against both laws. At least eight other cities and four states have banned nonessential government-funded travel to North Carolina.

"With one stroke of their pen, Gov. Pat McCrory and Gov. Phil Bryant have jeopardized the safety and dignity of countless transgender, gay and lesbian people -- who are already at an increased risk for violent crime," Garcetti continued, referring to the governors of North Carolina and Mississippi, respectively. "As someone who has fought for many years on behalf of LGBT Americans and their right to equal protection under the law, I will continue to do everything in my power to keep L.A.'s tax dollars from supporting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity."

"State-sanctioned discrimination only perpetuates intolerance, hatred and violence," said Councilmember Mike Bonin, who authored the resolution, in the same press release. "That is not at all what Los Angeles stands for, and today, we are sending a clear message that we will not endorse -- with our dollars or our participation -- discrimination toward our transgender, gay, lesbian, and bisexual sisters and brothers."

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