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Big-City Mayors, Governor Stand Up To Discriminatory North Carolina Law

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 29/03/2016 Daniel Marans
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  • New York State, New York City and Seattle announced bans on use of public funds for employee travel to the state on Monday.

  • The cities are following a similar decision Friday by San Francisco.

  • North Carolina law bars local anti-LGBT discrimination laws, even as it fails to protect LGBT rights at the state level.

The governor of New York, and the mayors of New York City and Seattle, announced on Monday that their state and cities would be joining San Francisco in adopting a ban on publicly-funded employee travel to North Carolina in protest of the state’s new law barring localities for passing laws to protect LGBT rights.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) cited New York's proud history of fighting for LGBT rights dating back to the Stonewall Riots in his announcement of an executive order prohibiting use of state funds for nonessential employee travel to North Carolina. Cuomo temporarily issued a ban against Indiana in 2015 after it passed similar legislation that was later amended.

"In New York, we believe that all people -- regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation -- deserve the same rights and protections under the law," Cuomo said in a statement accompanying his executive order.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced his decision to enact a city employee travel ban at a press conference on Monday, warning that the country’s largest city would enact the same policy for travel if Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's veto Monday of a similar bill in his state ends up being overridden.

Though Deal said he would not be influenced by “insults or threats,” warnings from Salesforce and Disney, among other major business, that they would leave the state if Georgia passed the law are widely believed to have played a role in his decision.

“I think it’s quite clear that voices of conscience all over the country are expressing outrage at these decisions which are re-instituting discrimination against the LGBT community,” de Blasio said, according to Politico . “My hope is that both these states will relent, but we certainly are not going to have any non-essential travel to those states if these laws do continue in effect.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (D) rolled out a ban on city-funded employee travel to North Carolina on Monday with an executive order laying out the reasons for the new policy.

“It is my hope for our nation that we do not allow issues of discrimination to divide us,” Murray said in a statement about the executive order. “Our union is only made stronger when all Americans are treated equitably.”

North Carolina has drawn a major backlash from a growing number of governments and businesses in response to HB 2, a controversial new law it passed on Wednesday.  In addition to prohibiting local anti-LGBT measures in the state, the legislation implemented a new statewide anti-discrimination policy that specifically excludes discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) remained defiant about the law on Monday, dismissing criticism of it as “political theater.”

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