At least six states and the District of Colombia over the last six years have prohibited their employees from taking work trips to states with laws that, in their view, discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. California’s prohibition is by far the most sweeping, barring state-funded travel to nearly half the country: 22 states, including four additions – Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana, and Utah –last week.
California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia all have sought to financially pressure several other states in some form or another – creating a confusing patchwork of bans, with some states lifting previous travel bans on other states, such as Indiana, that revise laws applying to the LGBTQ community after a national or statewide uproar…
After witnessing the impact on Indianapolis, several mayors of liberal cities, including New York, the District of Columbia, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, and others sprang into action. They announced bans on city-funded travel to North Carolina amid a national backlash over House Bill 2, which prevented transgender people in the state from using bathrooms aligned with their gender identity. North Carolina lawmakers quickly devised a compromise that helped convince collegiate sporting events to return to the state. Still, several big-city mayors kept a ban on employees traveling there.
Add this to the actions of private actors and you have interesting geographic conflicts across the United States.
It is less clear what these travel restrictions lead to in the long run. Does this connect to lower levels of geographic mobility among American residents as a whole? Is it part of “the big sort” by political affiliations and commitments? Does it lead to social networks that skip over some geographies and not others? How does it fit with the urban/rural divide in politics and each spaces sense of place and country?