Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed an executive order banning all non-essential state travel to Mississippi. The order requires all New York State agencies, departments, boards and commissions to immediately review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to the state of Mississippi, and bar any such publicly funded travel that is not essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety.
The ban, which takes effect immediately, follows Mississippi’s enactment of a discriminatory law that allows business and non-profit groups to refuse service to people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Discrimination is not a New York value. We believe our diversity is our greatest strength, and we will continue to reject the politics of division and exclusion,” said Governor Cuomo. “This Mississippi law is a sad, hateful injustice against the LGBT community, and I will not allow any non-essential official travel to that state until it is repealed.”
Last month, Governor Cuomo also banned non-essential state travel to North Carolina, following that state’s enactment of a law which bars transgender individuals from using restrooms appropriate for their gender identities, excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from state anti-discrimination protections, and prohibits municipalities from extending those protections to LGBT citizens.
In 2015, Governor Cuomo banned non-essential state travel to the state of Indiana after that state’s legislature passed a controversial religious freedom measure that did not prohibit discrimination against LGBT citizens. The Indiana measure was later amended to prevent it from being used to discriminate against LGBT residents and travelers in Indiana, and that travel ban was lifted.
The Governor’s executive order banning non-essential travel to Mississippi is available here, and the text can be found below:
PROHIBITING STATE FUNDED OR STATE SPONSORED TRAVEL TO MISSISSIPPI
WHEREAS, New York State is a national leader in protecting the civil rights and liberties of all of its citizens;
WHEREAS, New York State in 1945 enacted the first state law against discrimination in the nation, which now prohibits discrimination on many bases including age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, gender identity, marital status, and disability;
WHEREAS, protecting the civil rights and liberties of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a compelling state sanctioned government interest;
WHEREAS, protecting New York State from inadvertently financing discrimination against LGBT persons is a compelling state sanctioned government interest;
WHEREAS, the state of Mississippi has enacted legislation which explicitly permits and enshrines in law discrimination against LGBT citizens and unmarried individuals;
WHEREAS, in a free society the equal rights of all citizens, including LGBT citizens, must be protected and cherished;
WHEREAS, in a free society the will of the many cannot be the basis for discrimination against the few;
WHEREAS, it is the policy of the state of New York to promote fairness, protect the welfare of the citizens of the state of New York, and combat discrimination;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ANDREW M. CUOMO, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by my office, the New York State Constitution, and the Statutes of the state of New York, do hereby ORDER AND DIRECT:
- All agencies, departments, boards, authorities and commissions to review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to the state of Mississippi so long as there is law in effect there that permits and enshrines discrimination against LGBT citizens and unmarried individuals; and
- To bar any such publicly funded or publicly sponsored travel to such location, unless such travel is necessary for the enforcement of New York State law, to meet prior contractual obligations, or for the protection of public health, welfare, and safety;
New York State’s ban on publicly funded travel shall take effect immediately and shall continue until such law is repealed.
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