California bans state-funded sponsored travel to Oklahoma, Becerra says

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) Ahead of a new law scheduled to take effect in Oklahoma in November described as discriminatory against LGBTQ people, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced today that California will put a stop to state-funded and sponsored travel there.

Speaking in San Francisco this morning, Becerra said that Oklahoma will join a list of other states where California-funded and California-sponsored travel is prohibited due to those states' laws that 
discriminate based on individuals' sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The move is in accordance with California Assembly Bill 1887, which took effect in 2017.

Last month, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed Senate Bill 1140, which allows private adoption agencies to deny placement services to same-sex parents and to refuse to place LGBTQ foster children in homes based on religious or moral grounds, Becerra's office said.

"The state of California does not sanction discrimination against anyone in the LGBTQ community," Becerra said.

"We do not wish to see the list grow, but if a state decides to pass a law that discriminates against any one of us, simply based on how we look, how we speak, our religion, our sexual orientation; we want to make sure that it's clear, that California is not going to be part of it," Becerra said. "We are taking this action to make sure that no taxpayer dollars are used to fund or sponsor travel to Oklahoma."

"Let me be very clear, we do not take any enjoyment is this announcement today, but as we celebrate the month of pride in June, this goes to reflect the struggles we still have today. These are not the struggles of past, we still fight these struggles each and every day," Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, said. Low is the author of AB 1887.

"Laws that tell loving, committed Oklahomans or Kansans, or any Americans, that they're somehow less than, that they're somehow unworthy of this fundamental human experience of providing loving homes to our kids simply because of who they are or what their family looks like, are antithetical to everything that we stand for and shame on us if we stand by and do nothing," Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, said.

"Oklahoma's new law allows taxpayer-funded adoption and foster agencies to deny placement of children with families solely because of the parents' sexual orientation or gender identity. This means an agency could refuse to place a child with a parent, even if it's in the child's best interest to do so," Cathy Sakimura, family law director with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said. "This law not only harms children in need of adoption and prospective parents, but also sends a message that Oklahoma 
tolerates, and in fact, promotes this kind of discrimination against LGBTQ families."

In accordance with AB 1887, California-sponsored and California-funded travel to Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas is prohibited.

The ban on travel to Oklahoma using state funds takes effect on June 22, Becerra's office said.

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