Home>Articles>Bill To End CA’s Anti-LGBT Law Travel Ban To 23 States Introduced In Senate

Senator Toni G. Atkins. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Bill To End CA’s Anti-LGBT Law Travel Ban To 23 States Introduced In Senate

SB 447 would instead replace ban with focused marketing campaign in those 23 states

By Evan Symon, March 31, 2023 2:30 am

A bill to end California’s travel ban to “anti-LGBT law” states was introduced earlier this week.

Senate Bill 447, authored by Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), would end California’s ant-LGBT law travel ban to 23 states, including  Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. However, rather than just end the ban, the bill would instead replace it with the Building and Reinforcing Inclusive, Diverse, Gender-Supportive Equity Project (BRIDGE Project) to “promote social equity, civil rights, and antidiscrimination through marketing and advertising campaigns.”

SB 447 would authorize the office to contract with a private, nonprofit agency and to use the services of volunteer advertising agencies and donated media to conduct marketing activities. Any media campaign under BRIDGE would either be on a national scale, or on the state scale and specifically target states that have enacted a law that voids or repeals, or has the effect of voiding or repealing, an existing state or local protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, or have enacted a law that authorizes or requires discrimination against same-sex couples or their families or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Senator Atkins wrote the bill because the current travel ban policy is not working in reversing state LGBT laws, as many states since the travel ban law was first passed in 2016 have been added to the state travel ban list, with none being removed. In a statement, she said that the law has only brought more polarization, and that a new focus was needed.

“I think polarization is not working,” said Senator Atkins on Wednesday. “We need to adjust our strategy. We know what we need to do, but we need to be able to be there to do it. When I was a teenager growing up in rural Virginia, the idea of being accepted as a lesbian was a foreign concept. Times have changed, but for so many in the LGBTQ+ community, the feelings of isolation and fear remain. Lifting the travel ban and putting a program in its place that would infuse inclusive, non-partisan messages in other states is a way that California can help build a bridge of inclusion and acceptance. At a time when LGBTQ+ rights and protections are being rescinded, and the very words we use are being weaponized, putting understanding and kindness at the forefront is more important than ever. The goal here is to speak to people’s hearts and open minds. That’s a pursuit that would have made teen Toni – that southwestern Virginia girl afraid to be herself back then – so proud.”

Issues against SB 447

However, many lawmakers, including many Democrats, have said that the bill may not pass. Democrats in particular have said that removing the travel ban now would be backing down against fighting the numerous LGBT laws across the country.

“We shouldn’t completely end California’s state-funded travel ban without having an alternative action in combating discrimination,” added Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell). “We can’t back down, especially as a record amount of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is being introduced.”

Others oppose it due to it giving California more power and money to run ads in other states.

“Do you know what people hate? Other areas of the country telling another what to do,” explained Chelsea Gardner-Baum, an interstate media consultant from LA, to the Globe on Thursday. “Remember all those ads Governor Newsom sprung up in different states last year? There’s a reason he didn’t continue them. They just didn’t work. Other states have tried to put non-tourism billboards on issues in California to the same effect. Some of the sportsbook proposition billboards last year kind of highlighted Nevada, and people were offended at that. They don’t work.”

“I guess you can say California is trying to spread the idea that they are right, but ads are not the way to go. What does work is when policies are proven to have good results, like if Californian LGBT policies brought on a reduction in crime or led to a more accepting outlook or something that can be backed up with facts. But they aren’t doing it.”

“This is a risky bill, because all it might do is turn even more states away from California’s thinking on this. They already disassociated 23. Do they really want to go for more?

SB 447 is expected to be heard in Senate committees soon.

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Evan Symon
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7 thoughts on “Bill To End CA’s Anti-LGBT Law Travel Ban To 23 States Introduced In Senate

  1. When was the last time the California Legislature reversed course on anything just because it was didn’t work or was stupid? Especially on something as symbolic as this virtue-signalling travel ban.

    The REAL reason for this bill is the upcoming presidential election.

    How is Gavin Newsom (D-Axle Grease) supposed to run for president – if he can’t set foot in half of the country?

    (of course, Newsom could always pay for his campaign travel out of his own pocket, and avoid the travel ban, but that’s not how he rolls)

  2. I had this dream that not one government agency could buy advertising with any news outlet.
    It was wonderful to think that our leaders were not spending my money for their agenda!
    Then I woke up!

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