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California takes a stand against Oklahoma’s ‘prejudiced’ anti-gay adoption law

It joins eight other states that are off-limits for state travel because of their anti-LGBTQ policies.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, shown here at a press conference in March 2018, announced a ban on state-funded-travel to Oklahoma due to its new anti-LGBTQ adoption law. CREDIT: JOSH EDELSON
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, shown here at a press conference in March 2018, announced a ban on state-funded-travel to Oklahoma due to its new anti-LGBTQ adoption law. CREDIT: JOSH EDELSON

California workers on state business will be barred from traveling to Oklahoma, which has been added to the state’s no-go list after enacting a bill last month allowing adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex parents, the Los Angeles Times reported.

California’s legislature passed a law last year barring state-funded travel to states that allow discrimination based on sexual or gender orientation. Eight other banned states already on the list because of their anti-gay laws are Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra made the announcement that Oklahoma was being added to the list during a press conference on Friday. “California will not use state resources to support states that pass discriminatory laws,” he said.

“The law enacted in Oklahoma allows discrimination against LGBTQ children and aspiring LGBTQ parents who must navigate the adoption process. California taxpayers are taking a stand against bigotry and in support of those who would be harmed by this prejudiced policy.”

Evan Low, chairman of the California legislature’s LGBT Caucus, said the anti-discrimination bill passed in Sacramento last year aims “to ensure our taxpayer dollars do not fund bigotry — no exceptions. California is a state of inclusion and has long stood up against discrimination in any form, within our borders and beyond.”

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Cynthia Reid, an official with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, told the San Francisco Chronicle that business leaders in her organization had opposed the anti-gay adoption law, in part out of concern over possible boycotts.

“We opposed the legislation, as we oppose all discriminatory legislation,” she said. “One of the reasons we opposed it is for this reason (the California ban) right here.”

A spokesman with Equality California, a Los Angeles-based LGBTQ civil rights group, praised the travel ban. “California taxpayers won’t subsidize Oklahoma’s — or any state’s — discriminatory policies,” executive director Steve Zbur told the Chronicle.

As ThinkProgress’ Zack Ford wrote last month, the Catholic Conference in Oklahoma had warned that unless the bill was enacted, it would stop offering adoption services altogether.

He wrote that conservatives also indicated other adoption agencies had refrained from offering child placement services over fears they wouldn’t be able to discriminate against same-sex couples.