The government of California has banned all state-funded travel to Georgia in protest of House Bill (HB) 1084, Georgia’s recently passed law banning transgender girls from playing on sports teams matching their gender identities.
California has also banned all state-funded travel to Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana, and Utah as a result of each state recently enacting anti-LGBTQ legislation.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the law in early April. Less than one month later, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA), the athletic association that oversees Georgia high school sports, voted unanimously to enact a trans youth sports ban. The ban goes into effect at the start of the 2022 school year.
In passing the ban, Georgia ran afoul of California’s Assembly Bill (AB) 1887. The bill, enacted into law in 2016, “restricts state agencies, departments, boards, or commissions from authorizing state-funded travel to a state that has enacted a law authorizing, or repealing existing protections against, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression,” according to a press release from the office of California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
“Blocking transgender youth from playing sports isn’t just discriminatory, it’s government overreach — and it’s happening in states across the country,” Bonta said. “Rather than protecting personal freedoms, state legislatures are going out of their way to invent a problem and target the rights of children. It’s a gross misuse of public resources. California refuses to take part.”
“As required under AB 1887, we’re restricting state-funded travel to Georgia as a result of Governor (Brian) Kemp’s new transphobic law, HB 1084,” Bonta added.
For six years before Gov. Kemp (R) signed HB 1084, the GSHA had allowed individual schools and school boards to decide which teams transgender students could play on, the AP reported.
When pushing the bill, Georgia state House Speaker David Ralston (R) denied that HB 1084 would ban trans youth from playing sports outright. The bill seemed to call for the GHSA to establish a committee to study the issue. But after Kemp signed the bill, the GHSA quickly voted on the issue without additional research.
The GHSA’s decision could also violate Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in schools, as well as federal court rulings and Democratic President Joe Biden’s executive order prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity.
At least 12 Republican-led states have passed similar trans sports bans. Approximately 24 other states are considering similar legislation.
California banned travel to Indiana, Louisiana, and Utah because each state passed similar trans sports bans. California added Arizona to its restricted travel list for passing Senate Bill 1138 which prohibits healthcare professionals and insurance companies from offering gender-affirming care to minors.