Metro Weekly

Despite “repeal,” cities continue enforcing travel bans to North Carolina

Mayors of major cities vow to keep bans in place until anti-transgender restrictions are removed from law

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti – Photo: Office of the Mayor, via Flickr.

North Carolina’s fake “repeal” of the controversial HB 2 law might have convinced the NCAA and the ACC to reconsider awarding sports championships to the state, but mayors who are allies to the LGBTQ community aren’t being fooled.

The quasi-repeal approved by North Carolina lawmakers last week repealed HB 2 in name only, keeping moratorium in place that prohibits localities from passing laws relating to employment or non-restroom public accommodations until Dec. 1, 2020. It also prevents localities from passing any laws that extend access to public restrooms or shared changing facilities to transgender people.

While some, including Gov. Roy Cooper (D), have argued that the repeal is an improvement because the explicit prohibition on transgender people entering spaces that match their gender identity has been removed, LGBTQ advocates note that the law could still allow businesses, universities, and state agencies to adopt policies that are anti-transgender.

Standing firm with members of the LGBTQ community are some progressive politicians in charge of states and cities that passed bans on official state travel to North Carolina in the wake of HB 2. Those same allies are now vowing to keep such restrictions on government-funded non-essential travel in place until the restrictions on transgender access to restrooms and other facilities is lifted completely.

“Every American deserves to live free of discrimination, and the law signed last week by Governor Cooper does nothing to protect the rights and dignity of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said in a statement. “Cities should have every opportunity to make policies that affirm values of equal justice, protect people from hate and bias, and uphold the Constitutional right to self-determination. Until that is made real in North Carolina, I urge the City Council to extend L.A.’s ban on non-essential travel to the state by City employees. I would sign that ban right away, and will continue doing everything in my power to make sure that Angelenos’ tax dollars are never spent to support bigotry based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) tweeted that his city’s ban on official government-funded travel would remain in place:

Santa Fe Mayor Javier González also stood by his city’s travel ban, saying he had “no intention of changing” it even after the “repeal” passed.

“In Santa Fe, we stood up to ensure that every individual, regardless of their gender identity, will feel safe here. North Carolina shouldn’t stand in the way of their cities who want to do the same,” he said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told the Georgia Voice that the mayor has no plans to reverse the standing ban on non-essential travel by city employees.

Cincinnati City Councilmember Chris Seelbach urged the Queen City to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community, as did Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, an out lesbian.


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