In a new effort to protest “discriminatory” LGBTQ laws, California’s Attorney General is continuing to detrimentally impact the competitiveness of his state’s college sports teams.
Back in January, in response to North Carolina’s laws regarding transgender public restroom usage, California bill AB 1887 went into effect. It prohibits state-funded and state-sponsored travel to states with laws which supposedly discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Under the law, the Attorney General was given the power to maintain a current list of states which are subject to the travel ban.
Now, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is doubling the number of states under the ban. The final straw prompting Becerra to add four new states to his list of forbidden destinations came last week when Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation allowing faith-based adoption agencies to refuse adoptions to parents based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Triggered by that, Becerra announced that Texas, Kentucky, Alabama, and South Dakota now join Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Kansas on the no-go list.
Becerra released a statement justifying his move on account of the states’ “anti-LGBTQ” laws:
Our country has made great strides in dismantling prejudicial laws that have deprived too many of our fellow Americans of their precious rights. Sadly, that is not the case in all parts of our nation, even in the 21st century. I am announcing today that I am adding four states to the list of states where California-funded or sponsored travel will be restricted on account of the discriminatory nature of laws enacted by those states.
While the California DOJ works to protect the rights of all our people, discriminatory laws in any part of our country send all of us several steps back. That’s why when California said we would not tolerate discrimination against LGBTQ members of our community, we meant it.
The expansion of this bill doubles its impact on college athletes since the bill prohibits California state-funded university sports teams from competing in the forbidden states:
The travel prohibition applies to state agencies, departments, boards, authorities, and commissions, including an agency, department, board, authority, or commission of the University of California, the Board of Regents of the University of California, and the California State University.
Unless teams receive a legal exemption from the ban through the Attorney General’s office, they cannot attend sports events in the eight states.
So, for example, California State University, or Fresno State, had to prove to Becerra that their upcoming September 9 football game against the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa was scheduled back in 2015 before the ban went into effect.
Claire Dean, a spokesperson for the University of California, explained the exception saying that if a team committed to participate in a game in one of the forbidden states before January 1, 2017, “it’s permissible to use state funds. However, if a contract was entered on or after that, then state funds cannot be used for travel.”
The University of California men’s basketball team has not been so lucky in getting an exemption, and it has already had to pull out of a game in Kansas because of the law.
With the expansion of the ban, many more sports games will have to be either relocated or canceled all because of Becerra’s political stance on LGBTQ “rights.” Californian athletes should stand up to their Attorney Governor and demand that he stop this nonsense of telling them where they can and cannot play sports.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0