SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Democratic attorney general of California, most known for filing criminal charges against the man who recorded undercover videos of his talks with Planned Parenthood officials, has now banned state employees from traveling to Texas in protest of a law protecting faith-based adoption agencies from punishment for operating in accordance with the tenets of their religion.
He also banned government travel to Alabama and South Dakota over his objections to similar adoption laws, as well as to Kentucky.
“I am announcing today that I am adding four states to the list of states where California-funded or sponsored travel will be restricted on account of the discriminatory nature of laws enacted by those states,” Xavier Becerra said in a statement on Thursday.
“While the California DOJ works to protect the rights of all our people, discriminatory laws in any part of our country send all of us several steps back,” he opined. “That’s why when California said we would not tolerate discrimination against LGBTQ members of our community, we meant it.”
As previously reported, while the Texas legislation—signed last week by Gov. Greg Abbott—doesn’t mention specifics, some have construed the law to mean that Christian adoption agencies may choose married couples over unmarried, Christian couples over non-Christian and heterosexuals over homosexuals.
“A governmental entity or any person that contracts with this state or operates under governmental authority to refer or place children for child welfare services may not discriminate or take any adverse action against a child welfare services provider on the basis, wholly or partly, that the provider has declined or will decline to provide, facilitate, or refer a person for child welfare services that conflict with, or under circumstances that conflict with, the provider ’s sincerely held religious beliefs,” House Bill 3859, also known as the “Freedom to Serve Children Act,” reads in part.
Bill author Rep. James Frank, R-Wichita Falls, denied that the bill was discriminatory against homosexuals.
“This is really to give quick, clear certainty to providers so they can take care of children instead of fighting lawsuits,” he explained. “We want to make reasonable accommodations so everyone can participate in the system. Everyone is welcome, but you don’t have to think alike to participate.”
“My guess is if you have an LGBT agency they’re going to pick an LGBT family, and if you have a Baptist agency they may be more likely to pick a Baptist family,” he also noted. “They’re free to do that and should be free to do that.”
Becerra also cited Alabama’s H.B. 24, and South Dakota’s H.B. 149, in his statement, which he opposed out of his belief that they likewise could permit faith-based organizations to decline to place children in homes with two men or two women.
He additionally expressed objection to Kentucky’s S.B. 17, which declares that “[n]o recognized religious or political student organization is hindered or discriminated against in the … selection of leaders and members, defining of doctrines and principles, … or in its determination that only persons committed to its mission should conduct these activities.”
Becerra asserts that the law could permit public schools and universities “to discriminate against classmates based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The attorney general issued his travel ban in light of a new California law that prohibits state-sponsored travel to states that have laws on the books deemed to be discriminatory against homosexuals.
California already prohibits state employees from traveling to North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.