California Attorney General Rob Bonta recently announced that three new states– Missouri, Nebraska, and Wyoming– have been added to California’s state travel ban list in response to recently enacted laws considered discriminatory against LGBTQ+ identified people. This would include laws banning medical transitioning of minors with sterilizing hormones and mutilating surgeries, as well as banning boys identifying as girls from playing in female athletics.
The ban on state-funded and state-sponsored travel to states with so-called discriminatory LGBTQ+ laws, known as AB 1887, was passed in 2016. With the recent addition of the three states, a majority of states, 26, are now under the California travel ban.
Missouri was recently added to the travel ban for enacting two bills earlier this year that prohibited men from competing in women’s sports and also restricted medical transitioning of minors. Similarly, Nebraska also passed a bill to restrict those 18 and younger from medical transitioning drugs and surgeries, while Wyoming passed a law that prohibits students from participating in athletics based on their “gender identity.”
The effective dates of the laws in their respective states will trigger the travel ban. Specifically, the Nebraska travel ban is scheduled to go into effect on October 1st, while the Missouri ban is set to take effect on August 28th. The Wyoming ban is already in place.
“It is shameful that California wastes time persecuting other states whose laws reflect the biological reality about sex, and protect children from sterilizing drugs and mutilating surgeries,” said California Family Council President Jonathan Keller. “Women’s sports exist because males have biological differences that give them an unfair advantage in competitions with women.”
Ironically, some LGBTQ+ advocates don’t like the travel bans either.
“It’s crazy,” St. Louis area lawyer Ryan Hilliard, who often represents LGBT clients, told the California Globe. “California is not helping us with this, and are only hurting themselves. They’ve restricted travel to the majority of states. So they’re hurting opportunities and important governmental meetings over a few laws they don’t agree with. That’s lost growth, lost possible future revenue, and most importantly, lost time to work with other states and to help explain why these states are opting to do this. Rather than try to understand it, or more critically, work with them with the issue, they just give a ‘my way or the highway’ approach and say they’re right without explaining why. It’s baffling.”
The sentiment is resonating with California legislators as well. This year Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins introduced SB 447, a bill to fund the “BRIDGE Project” to “lift the travel ban and create in its place a program to encourage acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.”
The website explains BRIDGE stands for Building and Reinforcing Inclusive, Diverse, Gender-Supportive Equality. The fund would develop “non-partisan” and “inclusive” messaging to discourage discrimination, promote inclusivity, and “help California champion compassion and help build bridges to unite and unify communities” within those states passing laws considered anti-LGBTQ+.
Atkins says California’s travel ban law only isolates members of the LGBTQ community and prevents Californians from conducting business and engaging with people from other states.
California’s travel ban is obviously bad, but the BRIDGE project could be worse. God has designed humans to flourish most when they follow His commands regarding sex, gender, and family. Many of our elected representatives are in full rebellion against God’s design and are eager to export that defiance to other states in the name of compassion and unity. It is the obligation of Jesus followers, motivated by love of neighbor and our nation, to boldly oppose the lies promoted by our legislators that are confusing, harming, and destroying children and families.
SB 447 has already passed the Senate and is currently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee with a hearing happening late August. So far only Democrats have voted for the bill except for one Republican Greg Wallis who voted in favor of SB 447.