Atlanta mayor bans city travel to North Carolina over anti-LGBT law

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced late Monday that he is banning travel to North Carolina for city employees after passage of a law there that excludes the LGBT community from anti-discrimination protections and keeps cities and counties from enacting their own anti-discrimination policies.

“As a result of Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to sign discriminatory and unnecessary legislation into law, effective today I am directing all City departments to stop non-essential, publicly-funded employee travel to the State of North Carolina,” Mayor Reed said in a statement. “I extend my support to Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, who worked to enhance protections for the city’s LGBT population, as well as to the LGBT residents of North Carolina. Every person, regardless of their gender, gender expression or sexuality is a valued member of our community.”

Mayor Reed is the latest to enact such a ban following similar moves by city leaders in Washington, D.C., Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and New York, and by governors in Washington, New York, Connecticut and Minnesota.

The law, House Bill 2, emerged in February after the Charlotte City Council passed a measure that prohibited discrimination based on “marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression.” The anti-discrimination measure included protections in public accommodations i.e. it affected businesses that provide goods and services.

But as has happened in other cities, critics targeted the anti-discrimination measure for allowing people to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. Under House Bill 2, only transgender people who have gender affirmation surgery (and who have their doctor confirm the procedure) can change their birth certificate and use the bathroom that aligns with their identity.