California bans state-paid travel to Idaho over new laws limiting transgender rights

California
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks following arguments about ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 12, 2019. (Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images)

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks following arguments about ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 12, 2019. (Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images)

Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday added Idaho to a list of 11 other states where state-funded travel isn’t allowed because he determined that they violate a California law.

That 2017 law is intended to guard against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Becerra cited two new Idaho laws that he said allow discrimination against transgender people. One repeals protections enabling transgender students to compete on athletic teams consistent with their gender identity; the second bars amending birth certificates so they are consistent with the person’s gender identity.

“I do not believe that protecting the rights of women and girls to participate in athletics or recording objective facts constitute discrimination,” responded Idaho Republican Gov. Brad Little.

The travel ban takes effect July 1.

Becerra said in announcing the restriction that the laws amount to “drastic steps to undermine the rights of the transgender community, preventing people from playing sports in school or having documentation that reflects their identity.”

Idaho House Minority Leader Representative Ilana Rubel of Boise, on behalf of the Idaho Joint Democratic Caucus, said majority Republican lawmakers who passed the legislation had been warned by the state’s current and former attorneys general that the laws were unconstitutional, and by business leaders that the laws could be costly to the state’s economy.

“It was extremely foreseeable that Idaho’s new anti-transgender laws would create a cascading financial disaster for our state.” she said in a statement. “Now, our reeling businesses and workers must pay the price.”

She noted that the National Collegiate Athletic Association is also considering blacklisting the state over the laws.

The other states already on the prohibited list are Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

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