Oklahoma Bans State Travel to California in Tit-for-Tat over LGBT Laws

Zachary Evans

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, a Republican, signed an executive order on Thursday banning nonessential state-funded travel to California, in response to California’s own ban on travel to Oklahoma.

The executive order exempts business-recruiting trips and visits by schools or sports teams from the ban.

“California and its elected officials over the past few years have banned state travel to the State of Oklahoma in an effort to politically threaten and intimidate Oklahomans for their personal values,” Stitt said in a statement. “Enough is enough. If California’s elected officials don’t want public employees traveling to Oklahoma, I am eager to return the gesture on behalf of Oklahoma’s pro-life stance.”

The city of San Francisco bans government-funded travel to Oklahoma and 21 other states due what it views as the states’ restrictive abortion laws.

The entire state of California in 2018 added Oklahoma to an already existing state-funded-travel ban due to Oklahoma’s passage of a law allowing adoption agencies to deny placing children with same-sex couples.

The California ban, which includes Iowa, Texas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina, prohibits state-funded travel to states with laws that allegedly discriminate against LGBT people. Iowa was added to the ban in 2019 over the state’s refusal to cover gender-reassignment surgeries with Medicaid.

“California taxpayers are taking a stand against bigotry and in support of those who would be harmed by this prejudiced policy,” said state Attorney General Xavier Becerra upon the ban’s enactment in 2016.

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