Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed an executive order banning all non-essential state travel to North Carolina. 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 North Carolina, 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 North Carolina’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 New York, we believe that all people – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation – deserve the same rights and protections under the law,” said Governor Cuomo. “From Stonewall to marriage equality, our state has been a beacon of hope and equality for the LGBT community, and we will not stand idly by as misguided legislation replicates the discrimination of the past. As long as there is a law in North Carolina that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people, I am barring non-essential state travel to that state.”
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 North Carolina is available here, and the text can be found below:
PROHIBITING STATE FUNDED OR STATE SPONSORED TRAVEL TO NORTH CAROLINA
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, ensuring that persons are free from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a compelling state sanctioned government interest;
WHEREAS, protecting New York State from inadvertently financing discrimination against protected classes, including sexual orientation and gender identity, is a compelling state sanctioned government interest;
WHEREAS, the state of North Carolina has enacted legislation to bar transgender persons from using bathrooms and changing facilities corresponding to such persons’ gender identities, has excluded sexual orientation and gender identity from that state’s anti-discrimination protections, and has prohibited units of local government from extending such protections to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) citizens;
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 North Carolina so long as there is law in effect there that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT citizens; 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.