Two days after the governor of North Carolina signed into law legislation that would eliminate protections for LGBT people and ban transgender people from using their gender-identified restrooms, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has released a statement prohibiting any city-funded travel to the state.
The North Carolina legislation, which was signed into law after what the New York Times describes as "a whirlwind special session on Wednesday," was a response to a LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance approved in Charlotte last month that "provided protections based on sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity."
According to the Times, "The state bill, put together so quickly that many lawmakers had not seen it before it was introduced Wednesday morning, specifically bars people in North Carolina from using bathrooms that do not match their birth gender, and goes further to prohibit municipalities from creating their own anti-discrimination policies. Instead, it creates a statewide anti-discrimination policy — one that does not mention gay and transgender people."
A day after the bill was signed into law, companies including American Airlines, Apple, Dow Chemical, PayPal, Red Hat, Salesforce, the NBA, ESPN, Facebook, Google, and Biogen condemned the legislation. And now, too, has Lee, who in a statement sent Friday morning said "We are standing united as San Franciscans to condemn North Carolina’s new discriminatory law that turns back the clock on protecting the rights of all Americans including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals."
"Effective immediately," Lee's statement read, "I am directing City Departments under my authority to bar any publicly-funded City employee travel to the State of North Carolina that is not absolutely essential to public health and safety."
According to the SF Business Times, the CEO of SF-based Salesforce is also agitating for other companies to fight the law.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who successfully led the charge to overturn a law in Indiana last year that allowed faith-based organizations to refuse services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, said he'll ask Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan to oppose North Carolina's law. Bank of America is headquartered in Charlotte. Last month, Benioff opposed a similar measure in Georgia that legalized discrimination in the name of religious freedom.
Here's the Mayor's full statement:
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today issued the following statement after North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law legislation overturning protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the State of North Carolina:
“We are standing united as San Franciscans to condemn North Carolina’s new discriminatory law that turns back the clock on protecting the rights of all Americans including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. Effective immediately, I am directing City Departments under my authority to bar any publicly-funded City employee travel to the State of North Carolina that is not absolutely essential to public health and safety.
I believe strongly that we should be adding more protections to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in the United States, not taking them away.
I would like to applaud cities like Charlotte and its Mayor, Mayor Jennifer Roberts, who have taken steps at the local level to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination. I also applaud Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed who is a champion for equality for all.
With other states like Georgia on the verge of passing more discriminatory laws, let me be clear that San Francisco taxpayers will not subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in any City or State.”
Last year, disappointed by the actions of Indiana Governor Mike Pence who signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law that legalizes discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, Mayor Lee directed City Departments under his authority to bar publicly-funded City employee travel to the State of Indiana. That ban has since been lifted after Indiana amended their law.