California bans state-funded travel to Georgia over transgender school sports law

·2 min read
Robin Rayne/Associated Press file photo

California is banning state-funded travel to Georgia after the state passed a law allowing athletic associations to prohibit transgender girls from competing in girls’ interscholastic sports.

Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the law in April. Days later, the Georgia High School Association voted 62-0 to require high school athletes to compete according to the gender they were assigned at birth, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The association’s vote reversed a 2016 policy that had allowed each school to set its own policies.

“Blocking transgender youth from playing sports isn’t just discriminatory, it’s government overreach — and it’s happening in states across the country,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a Friday news release. “Rather than protecting personal freedoms, state legislatures are going out of their way to invent a problem and target the rights of children.”

A spokesman for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp responded in an email that “unless Attorney General Bonta plans on banning companies and film projects from moving to Georgia from California, this will have little impact on our state.”

Georgia will be the 23rd state to which California won’t pay for most travel under a 2016 law, Assembly Bill 1887. The law requires the attorney general to add states to the ban if they enact laws discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people.

Bonta announced in June that he planned to add Indiana, Louisiana, Utah and Arizona to the ban over new laws prohibiting transgender girls from competing in school sports according to their gender identities. Friday’s announcement said the Georgia ban will take effect immediately. The Attorney General’s Office expects to make Arizona the 24th entry on the list in September, when the state’s new law goes into effect.

Most of the states led by Republican legislatures and governors. Other states have been banned after passing measures that designate which bathrooms transgender people can use, allow doctors to deny medical care on religious grounds and restrict LGBTQ rights in other ways.

The California law has exemptions for serious government business, such as law enforcement, tax collection, and traveling to training events that are a condition of grants.

The University of California and California State University told The Sacramento Bee last year that their sports teams may still travel to states on the banned list, so long as the teams use money from donors and other sources that aren’t taxpayer dollars, tuition or revenues from fees.