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Despite Travel Ban to Anti-LGBTQ States, Teams are Still Going There

21 Aug, 2019

By: Michael Popke

A California law banning taxpayer-financed travel to 10 states that discriminate against LGBTQ people hasn’t stopped college sports teams from competing in those states.

In fact, according to recent report by the Los Angeles Times, “California elected officials have tapped campaign contributions to continue visiting the targeted states, while state university sports teams and students participating in academic competitions have appealed for private donations to fund their travel.”

When then-California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law in 2016, supporters claimed the purpose of its restrictions was to“avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people,” according to the Times.

Officials from the banned states — Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas — claim overreach by California legislators. Supporters, meanwhile, say the law puts pressure on states with discriminatory practices.

As an example of how college sports teams in California have responded to the bill, the detailed Times report cites the Cal State Long Beach men’s basketball team, which was invited last November to play in a tournament in Starkville, Miss. Team representatives reportedly asked the company hosting tournament to cover its travel and hotel costs. Similarly, track stars were able to participate in the NCAA Track and Field National Championships this year because of private funds raised by supporters, Andy Fee, the university’s athletic director, told the newspaper.

“It’s extra work,” Fee said. “We’ve been lucky that we do have folks who understand the need to fundraise private dollars.”

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