Anti-Gay States Face San Francisco’s Wrath

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — San Francisco on Tuesday became the first city to prohibit its employees not only from using public dollars to travel to states that pass anti-gay and anti-transgender laws, but barring city contracts with businesses headquartered in those states.
     “This legislation will make San Francisco the first city in the country to ban city contracting and spending in states that adopt anti-LGBT laws,” said District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, who sponsored the bill. “This will put San Francisco on the cutting edge of advocating for full equality and acceptance of issues important to LGBT.”
     San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee in March forbade city workers from traveling to North Carolina for any nonessential city business, after its Governor Pat McCrory signed a law barring transgender people from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity rather than their gender at birth.
     “This legislation codifies the ban and expands the ban to include spending in these states,” Wiener said. “This will have a strong message that San Francisco stands firmly with our LGBT community around the country.”
     Wiener, who is running for state senate in November, represents the city’s historically gay Castro neighborhood.
     San Francisco’s action comes as North Carolina faces mounting economic pressure for its “bathroom law,” which also prohibits local governments from adopting protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
     In April, PayPal dropped plans for a $3.6 million expansion and a new global operations center that would have created 400 new jobs in the Tar Heel state.
     This month, the NCAA announced it was pulling its Atlantic Coast Conference championship games out of North Carolina due to the state’s discriminatory law.
     San Francisco is not the first city or state to ban workers from traveling to states that pass laws perceived as biased against gay and transgender people.
     In March, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray issued executive orders barring employees from traveling on city business to North Carolina because of the state’s “bathroom law.”
     In April, San Jose approved legislation forbidding city workers from traveling to North Carolina and Mississippi.
     Mississippi passed a law in April this year that allows business owners and government workers with “sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions” to deny service or marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. The law defined a person’s gender as “determined by anatomy and genetics at the time of birth.”
     In July, a federal judge struck down the Mississippi law, calling it “a vehicle for state-sanctioned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
     Another state that passed similar religious freedom protections last year amended its law after facing a backlash of criticism and economic boycotts.
     Connecticut, Washington and New York lifted their bans on state-funded travel to Indiana in April 2015 after its governor, vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, amended the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which gave businesses owners the right to refuse service to gay and lesbian couples on religious grounds.
     A January 2016 report from the Indianapolis convention and visitor’s bureau, Visit Indy, found the capital city lost $60 million in revenue because of that legislation.
     The new San Francisco ordinance, which the city’s 11-member board of supervisors unanimously approved Tuesday, bars city-funded travel to states that have enacted laws reversing protections for LGBT individuals since June 25, 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.
     “We’ve achieved some huge victories around marriage equality in recent years,” Wiener said at Tuesday’s board meeting. “Now we’re seeing a backlash in laws, for example, enabling local business to discriminate against LGBT people.”
     The ordinance, which also will prohibit the city from contracting with companies headquartered in states with anti-LGBT laws, must be approved at a second meeting before it becomes law.

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