Metro Weekly

Cities and states ban official travel to North Carolina

Travel bans follow passage of anti-LGBT law that overturned Charlotte's civil rights ordinance

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (Zboralski, via Wikimedia).
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (Zboralski, via Wikimedia).

San Francisco, Seattle, New York City and the state of New York are pushing back against North Carolina lawmakers’ decision to pass a bill overturning an LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinance in Charlotte by banning all official state travel to the Tar Heel State. 

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced he was imposing a ban on city employees traveling to North Carolina for non-essential public business, similar to his actions against Indiana following the passage of that state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 2015. 

“We are standing united as San Franciscans to condemn North Carolina’s new discriminatory law that turns back the clock on protecting the rights of all Americans, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals,” Lee said in a statement.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a similar executive order for state employees, just as he did last year with Indiana. And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has followed suit, New York Magazine reports.

“In New York, we believe that all people — regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation — deserve the same rights and protections under the eyes of the law,” Cuomo said in a statement. “From Stonewall to marriage equality, our state has been a beacon of hope and equality for the LGBT community, and we will not stand idly by as misguided legislation replicates the discrimination of the past. As long as there is a law in North Carolina that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people, I am banning non-essential state travel to that state.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who is himself openly gay, not only signed an executive order banning city travel to North Carolina, but vowed to issue similar executive orders for any state that tries to follow its example by passing discriminatory laws that single out the LGBT community. 

The travel bans come after North Carolina lawmakers decided to overturn the Charlotte ordinance under the guise of protecting women and children from violent predators. LGBT opponents claimed sexual predators would dress up as transgender women in order to justify their presence in bathrooms of the opposite gender, a claim that has widely been debunked. The new North Carolina law also goes a step beyond reversing the Charlotte office, setting forth provisions that mandate that transgender people only use the bathroom of their biological sex at birth, and preventing other localities or municipalities from trying to pass LGBT protections that mirror those in the Charlotte ordinance.

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