Because Oklahoma has legalized discrimination against gay people in adoption, California has added it to the list of states to which state-paid travel, with some exceptions, is banned because of sexual orientation and gender discrimination. I still wonder why Arkansas hasn’t made the California list.

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In 2017 California adopted Assembly Bill 1887. It prohibits state-funded or state-sponsored travel to states with laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.Attorney General Becerra said, “California taxpayers are taking a stand against bigotry and in support of those who would be harmed by this prejudiced policy.”

….Oklahoma will be the 9th state where state-funded or state-sponsored travel is prohibited. The others are Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.

Arkansas had a law that discriminated in adoption, but the Arkansas Supreme Court struck it down. (I’d hate to test the current Supreme Court on the question.) But it has passed one of those so-called religious freedom statutes that is intended to protect those who discriminate against LGBTQ people in any way — employment, housing or public services. Those who discriminate merely need to cite a religious pretext to do so. Arkansas also passed a law explicitly intended to nullify local ordinances in several cities and counties aimed at extending civil rights protection to LGBTQ people. Gay people had to sue to get equal treatment on birth certificates in Arkansas.

If we haven’t gotten as explicit in statute as some of the others on California’s list, I’m confident it would be easy to find Arkansas legislators who say they’ll stack their gay discrimination credentials up against anyone. The legislature will be back in 2019 for another opportunity at building its reputation on the subject.

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