California will no longer allow state-funded travel to five additional states after each passed anti-gay and transgender legislation, officials announced, bringing the grand total to 17.
"There has been a coordinated attack on fundamental civil rights," State Attorney General Rob Bonta said at a press conference on Monday, in which he announced that the state is adding Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia to its banned list.
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“Assembly Bill 1887 is about aligning our dollars with our values,” the attorney general said in a statement. “When states discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans, California law requires our office to take action. These new additions to the state-funded travel restrictions list are about exactly that. It’s been 52 years to the day since the Stonewall Riots began, but that same fight remains all too alive and well in this country."
The effort by the Golden State was enacted in 2016 with the passage of AB 1887, and the law's intent is to "avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans," per Bonta's office. Each time a state enacts a measure that California deems discriminatory, the state adds it to the banned list.
"Rather than focusing on solving real issues, some politicians think it’s in their best interest to demonize trans youth and block life-saving care," Bonta added. "Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country — and the State of California is not going to support it.”
Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and West Virginia all passed legislation in recent months that bars trans athletes from participating on sports teams that match their gender identity. North Dakota created a law that permits certain publicly funded student organizations to restrict gay and transgender students from joining without losing funding.
The newly added states bring the grand total up to 17.
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The states that were already on California's list are Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.
California initially adopted the law when many conservative legislators were looking to pass "bathroom bills" that would require people to use the restroom that matches their biology and not their gender identity. On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge in a case where a lower court ruled that a Virginia school bathroom policy was discriminatory for limiting bathroom use to people of “the corresponding biological genders.”