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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced June 1 that California will ban state-funded travel to Oklahoma because of a new law that allows private agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples, reports Noah Lanard for Mother Jones.
Starting June 22, Oklahoma will become the ninth state where California bars state-funded trips to protest a variety of LGBT state laws, according to the Los Angeles Times. The other states are Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and South Dakota.
The ban comes after Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill earlier this month that allows private agencies to block children from being placed in foster care or be adopted when doing so would violate their religious or moral convictions.
Proponents of the Oklahoma law, such as the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, argue that it is needed to protect religious freedom. After signing the bill on May 11, Fallin said in a statement that it would allow “faith-based agencies that contract with Oklahoma to continue to operate in accordance with their beliefs.”
Becerra’s decision comes after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in 2016 blocks state-funded travel to states that enact laws allowing discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. “California will not use state resources to support states that pass discriminatory laws,” he said. “California taxpayers are taking a stand against bigotry and in support of those who would be harmed by this prejudiced policy.”
Freedom Oklahoma, an LGBT advocacy group, has threatened to sue Oklahoma in response to the law. The organization’s executive director Troy Stevenson said after Oklahoma enacted the adoption law that, “Our message to Gov. Fallin and the lawmakers who championed this travesty is simple: We’ll see you in court!”