California will prohibit state-funded or state-sponsored travel to four states have passed legislative bills deemed discriminatory against the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) community, California’s attorney general announced on Thursday.
Three of those four states – Texas, Alabama and South Dakota – have recently passed laws that could prevent LGBTQ couples from fostering or adopting children in the child welfare system.
The other state, Kentucky, enacted legislation that allows student-run organizations in colleges and K-12 schools to bar LGBTQ students from joining.
Becerra’s decision is based on a law passed last year by the California legislature, Assembly Bill 1887, which “prohibits state-funded and state-sponsored travel to states with laws that authorize or require discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression or against same-sex couples or their families,” according to a press release issued by Becerra’s office.
California had already barred state employees from traveling to Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee based on this law. Thursday’s ruling doubles the size of the California’s no-state-travel list.
In Texas, House Bill 3589, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law last week, will allow child welfare providers to “discriminate against single parents, children and parents who identify as LGTBQ and individuals who practice a different religion,” as a group of child welfare advocates wrote in an op-ed for The Chronicle of Social Change.
In addition to concerns that the bill is discriminatory, it puts a new administrative burden on Texas’ Department of Family Preservation Services, The Chronicle’s John Kelly wrote earlier this week.
In Alabama, House Bill 24, enacted in May, could prevent qualified prospective LGBT parents from adopting or serving as foster parents. South Dakota’s Senate Bill 149, enacted March, has the same aim.
A 2014 research report from the UCLA Williams Institute found that nearly 20 percent of youth in the foster care system in Los Angeles County identified as LGTBQ. Bianca Wilson, one of the researchers for the report, said that the laws passed by Texas, Alabama and South Dakota would have negative impacts on LGTBQ youth, who are over-represented in the foster care system and tend to have a higher number of out-of-home placements than their non-LGBTQ peers.
“Discriminatory laws that restrict the pool of potential homes for these youth are likely to make the disparities they experience worse,” Wilson said in an email to The Chronicle of Social Change.