Atlanta keeps North Carolina travel ban after anti-LGBT replacement law for HB 2

Atlanta is keeping a ban on city employee travel to North Carolina enacted in response to anti-LGBT House Bill 2 despite the governor signing into law a replacement measure.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed enacted the travel ban on non-essential, publicly-funded city employee travel last April in response to the passage of HB 2, calling it “discriminatory and unnecessary legislation” and extending his support to the LGBT residents of North Carolina.

“Every person, regardless of their gender, gender expression or sexuality is a valued member of our community,” Reed said in a statement at the time.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a fellow Democrat, signed into law a replacement measure on March 30 that he claimed alleviated the situation, but LGBT rights and other civil rights groups across the nation slammed the new bill, House Bill 142. It didn’t appear to alleviate the concerns of Mayor Kasim Reed’s office either.

“The City of Atlanta has no plans to lift the restriction at this time. Our current position remains,” Reed spokeswoman Anne Torres told Georgia Voice on Thursday.

HB 142 prohibits state agencies, municipalities and public universities from the “regulation of access” to bathrooms, showers and locker rooms without the permission of the (Republican-dominated) state Legislature. It also bans municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination measures applying to public accommodations or private employment until 2020.

Mayor Reed joins a number of other city leaders in retaining a similar travel ban in the wake of HB 142’s passage last week, including those in Washington D.C., New York City, Oakland, Seattle, San Fransisco, Santa Fe, Salt Lake City and Cincinnati. The Washington Blade reported Wednesday that the state of Minnesota is retaining its travel ban as well.