9 cities and states impose travel bans over anti-gay laws
At least nine cities and states have banned state travel to Mississippi or North Carolina over fresh legislation critics have slammed as discriminatory.
In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill on Tuesday allowing religious organizations and some businesses to refuse service to LGBT people, sparking a wave of city mayors and state governors nationwide to declare a halt on travel to Mississippi. The bans generally apply to state employees and forbid non-essential travel on the taxpayer's dime.
RELATED: Photos of protests over the bill in North Carolina:
One of those bans emerged from New York State, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order banning travel to Mississippi for "all New York State agencies, departments, boards and commissions," effective immediately. Explaining his decision, Cuomo on Tuesday said: "Discrimination is not a New York value."
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray imposed similar bans on Tuesday, with Murray stating: "Seattle will continue to speak out against injustice and stand with those fighting for equality." Vermont also announced a travel ban to the southern state, the Associated Press reported.
In Mississippi, Bryant signed the bill into law despite calls from the Mississippi Manufacturers Association for lawmakers to reconsider. The association said in a Monday statement it feared "that future economic development opportunities will be jeopardized" if the bill wasn't vetoed, and noted how other states dealing with similar legislation have attracted "negative attention."
Much of that negative attention in recent days has focused on North Carolina, where a new law has been widely criticized as being anti-LGBT: It requires that people only use restrooms that correspond with their biological sex rather than the gender they identify with. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill, called HB2, on March 24, prompting legislators in New York State, San Francisco, D.C., Seattle, Washington, Atlanta, Boston, Vermont and Minnesota to announce state travel bans to North Carolina.
As part of the backlash, PayPal also announced on Tuesday it was canceling its planned extension in Charlotte that would have provided 400 jobs. PayPal's president and CEO, Dan Schulman, said in a statement that the law "perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal's mission and culture."
Georgia recently rejected a bill that could have had similar repercussions. In late March, its governor decided to veto a bill that would allow religious groups to fire people who breach their "sincerely held" religious beliefs, amid a warning from the NFL that it would pull Atlanta's bid to host the Super Bowl if the state's laws did not reflect its inclusive policies.
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