June 23, 2020 at 12:58 pm EDT | by Karen Ocamb
AG Becerra adds Idaho to restricted state travel list after anti-trans laws
Xavier Becerra, gay news, Washington Blade
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (Photo public domain)

Effective July 1, California will restrict state-funded travel to Idaho as a result of two anti-trans bills signed into law despite “significant concerns” from that state’s attorney general, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office said in a press release.

Idaho Governor Brad Little signed House Bills 500 and 509 into law on March 30, 2020.

The Washington Blade reported Saturday, June 20, that President Trump and his Administration support the anti-trans laws. Chris Johnson wrote:

“U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced in a statement Friday the Trump administration would intercede in the lawsuit against the Idaho law, known as House Bill 500 and the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, to protect the statute on the basis that “allowing biological males to compete in all-female sports is fundamentally unfair to female athletes.”

“Under the Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause allows Idaho to recognize the physiological differences between the biological sexes in athletics,” Barr said. “Because of these differences, the Fairness Act’s limiting of certain athletic teams to biological females provides equal protection. This limitation is based on the same exact interest that allows the creation of sex-specific athletic teams in the first place — namely, the goal of ensuring that biological females have equal athletic opportunities.”

“The Justice Department takes this position even though the Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County determined anti-transgender discrimination is a form of discrimination, thus prohibited in employment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The logic of the decision applies to all laws against sex discrimination, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in schools and requires schools to offer equal opportunities boys and girls in athletics.”

Restrictions on California state-funded travel resulting from another state’s anti-LGBTQ laws has been in place since 2016.

House Bill 500 repeals protections that enabled transgender students to compete on athletic teams consistent with their gender identity and House Bill 509 prohibits the amendment of birth certificates to be consistent with gender identity, says the release.

“Where states legislate discrimination, California unambiguously speaks out,” said Becerra.“The State of Idaho has taken drastic steps to undermine the rights of the transgender community, preventing people from playing sports in school or having documentation that reflects their identity. Let’s not beat around the bush: these laws are plain and simple discrimination. That’s why Idaho joins the list of AB 1887 discriminating states.”

The press release notes:

“Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden had raised concerns about the bills’ compliance with equal protection and privacy laws. House Bill 500, among other things, runs contrary to existing guidance by the National Collegiate Athletic Association that encourages equal opportunity for transgender students to participate in athletics. Dubiously named the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” House Bill 500 overrules existing local school policies in Idaho and directly works to ban transgender girls and women from school sports. Similarly, House Bill 509 not only authorizes but actually requires discrimination by prohibiting the amendment of birth certificates consistent with gender identity, a right previously recognized by an Idaho federal court on equal protection grounds. The laws are currently set to go into effect in Idaho on July 1, 2020.

AB 1887, which took effect beginning in 2017, restricts state-funded travel to states with laws that authorize or require discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. AB 1887’s restriction on using state funds for travel applies to California state agencies, departments, boards, authorities, and commissions, including an agency, department, board, authority, or commission of the University of California, the Board of Regents of the University of California, and the California State University. Each applicable agency is responsible for consulting the AB 1887 list created by the California Department of Justice to comply with the travel and funding restrictions imposed by the law. 

For additional information on AB 1887, including the list of states subject to its provisions, visit: www.oag.ca.gov/ab1887.’

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