California Adds South Carolina to the State-Funded Travel Ban

Nine other states, mostly Southern, are also prohibited destinations for official state travel over their discriminatory policies.

Effective April 15, California won’t allow state-funded trips to South Carolina over its policy that allows faith-based adoption discrimination.

California lawmakers approved a bill in 2016 that prohibited state agencies and the Legislature from allowing staff to travel to a state that allows discrimination on the base of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Until April 15, that includes nine other states: Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.

A 2018 South Carolina law doesn’t mention sexual orientation but allows private child-placing agencies to refuse to serve those who don’t adhere to their religious beliefs or moral convictions. In one case, a Jewish woman was not allowed to mentor foster children, Attorney General Xavier Becerra said.

Plus, the Trump administration in January granted a requested waiver from the state to exempt them from applicable anti-discrimination regulations. On Tuesday, Becerra announced the state would be added to the list.

“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 stands strongly against any form of discrimination. AB 1887 authorizes my office to make that promise real.”

Brian Symmes, spokesperson for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, isn’t too torn up about it. He tweeted a sarcastic retort to the announcement that he was headed to “figure out if the governor needs to declare a state of emergency. How will South Carolina recover?”

California still allows state-funded trips to the 10 states but only in specific circumstances:  enforcement of California law, litigation, contractual obligations, to comply with requests from the federal government, meetings or training mandatory for grant funding or licenses, and “for the protection of public health, welfare or safety.”

The case echoes a boycott of North Carolina over its 2016 law that required people to use bathrooms according to their sex assigned at birth in a target against transgender and gender non-conforming communities. After major sporting events joined and it cost the state at least $3.7 billion, it passed a replacement law in 2017 that undid the bathroom requirement but didn’t allow local government to enact nondiscrimination ordinances until December 2020. 

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