California AG Xavier Becerra – Photo: Office of the California Attorney General.
Earlier this week, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) announced a ban on all state-funded travel to South Carolina in response to the state’s anti-gay adoption laws.
South Carolina currently allows foster care agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples and other prospective parents.
“The State of South Carolina recently enacted a measure that sanctions discrimination against families in the placement of children in need of homes,” Becerra said in a statement. “The State of California strongly stands against any form of discrimination.”
Becerra said the ban will become effective April 15. He says the ban is in compliance with a 2016 California law that prohibits state-funded travel to states that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
South Carolina has become the tenth state on California’s travel ban list, along with Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.
The South Carolina law in question is a provision that was slipped into a budget bill that allows private faith-based child placement agencies to discriminate against people that do not adhere or conform to the agency’s purported religious beliefs or moral convictions.
For example, one of the state’s largest foster care agencies, Miracle Hill Ministries, has been criticized for refusing to place children with Jewish or Catholic couples.
Over the past year, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster had sought out a special waiver from the Trump administration that would exempt agencies like Miracle Hill from having to adhere to nondiscrimination regulations governing child placement agencies that receive taxpayer dollars. That waiver was eventually granted by the administration.
Once the ban takes effect, California public university athletes could be forced to stay across state lines — bunking for the night in Georgia, for example — if they attend sporting events in South Carolina, reports NBC News.
Brian Symmes, a spokesman for McMaster, posted a sarcastic tweet poking fun at the efficacy of California’s ban, reading: “En route to [Emergency Management Division] headquarters to figure out if the governor needs to declare a state of emergency. How will South Carolina recover?”
Symmes later told the South Carolina newspaper The State: “If Attorney General Becerra was interested in the truth, he would know this is all about protecting South Carolinians’ religious freedom — regardless of their faith. While he tries to score cheap political points, we’ll be more than happy to continue recruiting businesses that are leaving over-regulated, high tax states like California to come to South Carolina and create opportunities for our people.”