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California bars state-funded travel to Oklahoma over LGBTQ law

California bars state-funded travel to Oklahoma over LGBTQ law
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra in Sacramento in January. “California will not use state resources to support states that pass discriminatory laws,” he said. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California will ban state-funded travel to Oklahoma because of a new law there that lets private agencies deny placement of adopted children with same-sex couples, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra announced Friday.

Oklahoma is the ninth state to fall under California’s anti-discrimination travel ban, joining Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, South Dakota and Kansas.

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A California law that took effect last year prohibits state-funded travel to any state with laws that authorize discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

The Oklahoma law that earned the state a spot on the list allows private adoption agencies to refuse to place children for foster care or adoption based on religious or moral convictions.

Over the objections of gay rights groups, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed it into law May 12.

“California will not use state resources to support states that pass discriminatory laws,” Becerra said. “California taxpayers are taking a stand against bigotry and in support of those who would be harmed by this prejudiced policy.”

The ban on state-funded travel to Oklahoma takes effect June 22.

The prohibition on travel to each state continues until the state repeals whatever laws California deems discriminatory.

“California is a state of inclusion and has long stood up against discrimination in any form, within our borders and beyond,” said Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), chair of the Legislature’s LGBT Caucus.

Most of the laws that landed states on the list are framed by supporters as religious freedom protections. Several are similar to Oklahoma’s new adoption law.

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