Since early 2015 we have seen many mayors and local leaders take action to prohibit city funds from being used for non-essential travel to states with blatantly discriminatory laws targeting LGBT people. Mayors have issued travel bans to North Carolina following the passage of the egregious anti-LGBT HB2, as well as to Indiana after the state passed a law disguising anti-LGBT discrimination as “religious freedom.
Travel bans like these are not just symbolic – they also have an economic impact on the states and send a message that discriminating against LGBT people is bad for the economic prosperity of the state. With public employees no longer staying in hotel rooms, frequenting restaurants, browsing stores, or visiting tourist sites, the dollar amount adds up. Travel bans function as a warning to other states – don’t pass anti-LGBT laws – and a statement of values for the mayor issuing the order.