Above: Assembly Member Evan Low (left) and Supervisor Scott Wiener
Two separate measures introduced by a California Assembly member and a San Francisco supervisor restricting the use of government dollars to pay for discrimination advanced Tuesday.
AB 1887 prohibits the use of state money to pay for travel to states that don’t allow local governments to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. Introduced by openly gay Assembly Member Evan Low, a Victory Fund candidate, the bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday.
AB 1887 doesn’t target any specific state, but lays out in detail whether a state will be impacted. Travel is forbidden to any state that has passed a law that explicitly discriminates against LGBTQ people, or that has passed a law voiding or repealing state or local protections for LGBTQ people. It requires the Attorney General to maintain a list of the states that would qualify.
Currently, the law would impact at least three states. The most obvious is North Carolina, because HB2 both voids local LGBTQ protections and mandates discrimination against transgender people when it comes to what facilities they can use. Also guaranteed to be on the list, however, would be Tennessee and Arkansas, two other states that have “preemption” laws prohibiting municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections beyond what’s available at the state level, thus voiding any city or county ordinances protecting sexual orientation and gender identity.
In San Francisco Tuesday, openly gay Supervisor – and state senate candidate – Scott Wiener’s legislation to bar the city from doing business with states that don’t allow LGBTQ protections passed the Board of Supervisors unanimously.
Board of Supervisors just passed my legislation making SF 1st city in country to ban contracting with states that pass anti-#LGBTQ hate laws.
— Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) September 27, 2016
“I’m proud that our city is stepping out and being a leader in this fight,” said Wiener in a statement. “I hope other jurisdictions follow suit and send a clear message that these laws have no place in our country.”
Both measures are the first of their kind, though many governors and mayors have issued executive orders to the same effect.
Despite California’s liberal reputation, progress for the LGBTQ community has been hard-fought and relatively recent. The documentary Political Animals recounts the difficulties faced by the first four LGBTQ legislators in the state – all Victory candidates – when fighting for LGBTQ equality.