April 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
D.C. won’t lift travel ban to North Carolina after HB2 deal
sanctuary cities, gay news, Washington Blade

Mayor Muriel Bowser won’t lift her travel ban to North Carolina despite the HB2 replacement. (Washington Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)

The District of Columbia has joined the growing number of cities that have refused to lift their travel bans to North Carolina over anti-LGBT House Bill 2 despite the governor signing into law a replacement measure.

D.C. won’t lift its ban on state-sponsored travel to North Carolina that D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed last year banning official travel by city employees to North Carolina as a protest against House Bill 2, a spokesperson told the Washington Blade Wednesday.

“At this time, Mayor Bowser has no plans to lift the ban,” said Susana Castillo, a Bowser spokesperson.

Bowser is keeping her executive order in place after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a fellow Democrat, signed into law a replacement for House Bill 2 that he says alleviates discrimination in the state, but LGBT rights supporters say it doubles-down on discrimination.

The new law, House Bill 142, is a compromise deal Cooper worked out with Republican leaders in state legislature amid ongoing economic boycott of the state as a result of the initial anti-LGBT law.

HB 142 prohibits municipalities, state agencies and the University of North Carolina from the “regulation of access” to bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the legislature’s permission. It also bans municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination measures that would apply to private employment or public accommodations until 2020.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, other cities that have refused to lift their travel bans to North Carolina despite the new law are New York City, Oakland, Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Salt Lake City and Cincinnati.

Angela Dallara, a spokesperson for the coalition known as Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination, said the voices of mayors against the new law in North Carolina will have an impact.

“I think, honestly, taxpayer dollars should never be spent on discrimination, and when the mayors put these travel bans in place, it sends a message of support and inclusion to LGBT people,” Dallara said. “And it’s effective. We know that HB2 cost North Carolina about a billion dollars because of companies and sports team that withheld business from the state, and I think that these mayors know that discriminating against LGBT people is costly.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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