The mayor of Washington, D.C., has banned all nonessential employee travel to North Carolina after the state passed an anti-LGBT law that bars transgender people from accessing public facilities like bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity and eliminates all existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in the state.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted out the executive order banning travel for government employees, saying, "We stand with the LGBTQ community and against discrimination."
The order says that no office or employee of the District of Columbia is authorized to approve any official travel to the state until the anti-LGBT law is "permanently enjoined, repealed or amended to allow local jurisdictions to enact laws protecting LGBTQ communities from discrimination and to enact laws allowing persons to use restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.”
When Indiana passed a so-called religious freedom bill last year, a similar backlash had entire states clamping down on travel. The governors of Connecticut, New York, and Washington all issued orders banning nonessential travel to Indiana until that law was amended.
North Carolina's legislation, House Bill 2, has been widely condemned by LGBT and human rights groups, businesses leaders, and presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, with many joining a social media campaign #WeAreNotThis to protest its passing.
The consequences to North Carolina, its economics, and its reputation as an inclusive state are piling up. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit. The entertainment company Lionsgate has relocated a television series. The mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, is asking North Carolina businesses to move to the Windy City in order to avoid controversy.
Even talk show host Seth Meyers took aim at the transphobic legislation, wondering how neither North Carolina nor Georgia, where the governor recently vetoed a so-called religious freedom bill after lawmakers approved it, did not learn a lesson from the disastrous blowback to the anti-LGBT legislation passed in Indiana last year.