Transgender athlete law puts West Virginia on California travel ban list

West Virginia News

USA, West Virginia, Charleston, West Virginia State Capitol, exterior

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is criticizing California after the state added West Virginia to its list of states where state-funded travel is restricted.

Officials in the Golden State say the travel ban is a response to “anti-LGBTQ+ legislation” within those states. California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office says West Virginia is being added to the list as a result of House Bill 3293.

The bill was signed into law on April 28, and it enforces single-sex participation in interscholastic athletic events. This means transgender student-athletes are not able to participate in school sports consistent with their gender identity.

“Assembly Bill 1887 is about aligning our dollars with our values,” Bonta said on Monday, June 28. “When states discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans, California law requires our office to take action. These new additions to the state-funded travel restrictions list are about exactly that. It’s been 52 years to the day since the Stonewall Riots began, but that same fight remains all too alive and well in this country. Rather than focusing on solving real issues, some politicians think it’s in their best interest to demonize trans youth and block life-saving care. Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country — and the State of California is not going to support it.”

The ACLU and the U.S. Department of Justice both have filed lawsuits against the state regarding the law. The DOJ says in its “statement of interest” lawsuit that the law violates Title IX as well as the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Morrisey says the ban is an “affront” to states’ ability through the Constitution to govern their constituents as the states see fit.

“States should not penalize other states because of policy differences,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The economic coercion demonstrated by California is an affront to the dignity of other co-sovereign states and amounts to legislating across state borders in an effort to force the radical world view of large states onto those living elsewhere.”

The ban was first put in place through Assembly Bill 1887 in September 2016 as an effort by California legislators “to avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people,” According to Bonta’s website.

The states already on that list include Kentucky, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

In addition to the Mountain State, states being added to the list between July 1, 2021 and August 1, 2021 include Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota.

“Federalism works best when individual states can pursue policies supported by their own constituents, and in West Virginia, our office will defend the state’s efforts to protect the integrity of women’s sports. Title IX opened many opportunities for girls and women across the Mountain State and beyond. This legislation preserves fair competition. It is simply wrong for other states to exert financial pressure in such a manner,” Morrisey said. “West Virginia is a beautiful state, and I continually urge everyone – in California and elsewhere – to experience its magnificent hills, streams and adventure, as well as its loving people,” he continued.

The restrictions on state-funded travel to West Virginia from California will take effect on July 8, 2021. for more on Morrisey’s motion to intervene and its response brief on the governor’s website.

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