"I believe strongly that we should be adding more protections to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in the United States, not taking them away." - S.F. Mayor Ed Lee
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San Francisco city officials will not be visiting the state of North Carolina until it repeals its onerous Religious Freedom Restoration Act. So decrees San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
The North Carolina legislation in question was crammed through a special session of the legislature this week, which was called after the city of Charlotte passed comprehensive LGBT protections, including allowing trans people to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity. The new state law bars people in North Carolina from using bathrooms that do not match their birth gender, and prohibits municipalities like Charlotte from creating their own anti-discrimination laws.
Mayor Lee released a statement yesterday, praising the mayor of Charlotte condemning the North Carolina law. Mayor Lee said unequivocally that the city of San Francisco would not fund travel to North Carolina, and warned Georgia legislators, who are considering enacting a similar law, the travel ban would be expanded to include that state if they adopt the anti-LGBT law.
Here's Mayor Lee's full statement:
“We are standing united as San Franciscans to condemn North Carolina’s new discriminatory law that turns back the clock on protecting the rights of all Americans including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. Effective immediately, I am directing City Departments under my authority to bar any publicly-funded City employee travel to the State of North Carolina that is not absolutely essential to public health and safety.
"I believe strongly that we should be adding more protections to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in the United States, not taking them away.
"I would like to applaud cities like Charlotte and its Mayor, Mayor Jennifer Roberts, who have taken steps at the local level to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination. I also applaud Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed who is a champion for equality for all.
"With other states like Georgia on the verge of passing more discriminatory laws, let me be clear that San Francisco taxpayers will not subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in any City or State.”
Mayor Lee was one of the first officials to ban state-funded travel to Indiana last year after a similar "religious freedom" bill was passed. Look for other mayors and state governors to follow his lead.
Photo is from Mayor Lee's Facebook album