Portland Maine Approves Travel Ban to Oppose Discriminatory Anti-Gay Laws
On 4/25/2019, officials in Portland, Maine joined a growing number of municipal governments around the United States who have introduced plans that would bar city workers from traveling to North Carolina and Mississippi in response to laws recently enacted in those states that openly discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
The Portland City Council approved the travel ban unanimously.
Portland is the first city in Maine to take such an action. More than 20 other cities and at least five other states have enacted similar bans to oppose laws that discriminate against gay and transsexual communities.
North Carolina House Bill 2 bars cities from approving LGBT protections and prohibits state workers and students who attend public institutions from using restroom facilities that do not correspond to the gender identified on their birth certificate.
The ban empowers the city manager to avoid spending public money on non-essential travel to any state with laws that affirm or encourage discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
In a statement, Portland’s Mayor Ethan Strimling said the travel restriction is intended to send a strong message to those states.
“This is practical, but it’s also a statement,” Strimling said. “It’s also to let them know that if something came up, we won’t go. Regardless, if there’s anything in the pipeline right now for us, protecting the LGBTQ community is an important value in Portland.”
In its statement about the proposal, the city specifically named Mississippi and North Carolina and noted that many cities and states around the country have begun to pass similar bans.
This ban is limited only to non-essential travel to North Carolina and Mississippi.
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