California has added a ninth state to its travel ban for state employees, barring them from traveling to Oklahoma to protest laws California officials consider to be discriminatory against gay people.
Oklahoma enacted a law this year allowing adoption agencies to refuse to work with gay or transgender people. California also bars its state employees from traveling for work-related purposes to Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
At least six states bar employees from “non-essential” work travel to states with laws they view as discriminatory, including restrictions on bathroom use, adoption protocols and one that critics said would allow students to keep gay classmates from joining school clubs.
Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington have banned state employee travel to North Carolina and Mississippi. Connecticut’s ban targets just North Carolina. Cities across the United States also have adopted bans.
Though critics call the bans symbolic, leaders of blue cities in otherwise red states say they’ve had a negative impact on their tourism industry, as many organizers of conventions whose attendees include public employees have chosen to go elsewhere.