On Thursday, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed an executive order halting all non-essential state travel to California.
Under Governor Stitt’s executive order only certain business, sports, and education events will be allowed to travel to California.
The move by the Governor comes two years after California banned state-funded travel to Oklahoma following former Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s signing of a law that allows adoption agencies to deny placing children into gay and lesbian couples based on religious or moral issues. It also follows San Francisco’s city-funded travel ban to Oklahoma and 22 others states with restrictive abortion laws and the barring of contracting business with any company in those states. San Francisco’s ban just began only weeks ago on January 1st.
Governor Stitt’s ban was partially in response to the actions of California and San Francisco and the estimated millions that Oklahoma has lost as a result.
“California and its elected officials over the past few years have banned travel to the State of Oklahoma in an effort to politically threaten and intimidate Oklahomans for their personal values. Enough is enough,” said Governor Stitt in a statement. “If California’s elected officials don’t want public employees traveling to Oklahoma, I am eager to return the gesture on behalf of Oklahoma’s pro-life stance.”
However the Governor’s office did confirm that the ban was also partially signed due to President Donald Trump’s upcoming attendance at the National March for Life, the anti-abortion rally taking place Friday in Washington.
“It’s not solely about the bans, although that probably made them mad,” said Douglas Singer, a former speechwriter for a Health Group who often responded to new abortion laws. “We’ve seen this before. A president or higher elected official gets ready to give a speech about abortion, an act that doesn’t happen often, and a lot of people scramble to get mentioned in the speech.”
“Trump will at least give a statement around the March for Life, if not give a speech there. The Governor is likely playing for a mention to lock down support, as well as show that Oklahoma won’t be pushed around by ‘big, mean’ states like California, even though that ban has been in place for years.”
The travel ban, which isn’t expected to significantly affect California financially, went into effect upon signing. California’s current state travel-ban due to anti-homosexual and anti-abortion laws also includes states such as Texas, North Carolina, Iowa, Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi.