October 3, 2022

Los Angeles bans official travel to Texas, Florida over LGBTQ policies

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to prohibit official travel to Texas and Florida in response to those states’ policies regarding LGBTQ rights, according to multiple local media sources.

The Pasadena Star-News reported that the board vote was unanimous and specifically called out Florida’s legislation barring instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law by critics, as well as Texas’ recent decision to investigate certain gender-affirming medical care for trans youth as child abuse.

The Texas policy “flies in the face of all that we know about best practices when it comes to supporting children and young adults to discover who they are and feel secure in their sense of self,” Supervisors’ Sheila Kuehl’s and Hilda Solis’ motion read, according to the Star-News.

The ban carved out an exception for the cancellation of any trips that “would seriously harm the county’s interests.”

In 2017, California enacted a law restricting taxpayer-funded travel to places that “authorize discrimination” against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The law effectively bars California from spending taxpayer money sending state employees or officials to certain states. Law enforcement, tax auditors and collectors and anyone who needs to travel to these states to appear before a federal committee are exempt from the ban.

The law does not affect the travel of private citizens.

That same year, California banned state-funded or state-sponsored travel to Texas after Texas legislators passed a law that gave legal cover to religious adoption agencies that turn away prospective parents because they’re gay.

Texas and several other conservative states put under similar bans filed legal challenges against California’s policy. But in 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the case, allowing the bans to remain in force.

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