New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo struck back Tuesday with his pen and his state’s pocketbook against the state of Mississippi by issuing a travel ban on the state after Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law an expansive anti-LGBTQ bill earlier in the day. The executive order, which is effective immediately, “requires all New York State agencies, departments, boards and commissions to … bar any such publicly funded travel that is not essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety.”
The order says the new Mississippi legislation “explicitly permits and enshrines discrimination” and the executive action is designed to protect New York “from inadvertently financing discrimination.” The Mississippi legislation itself is a measure designed to allow individuals the ability discriminate against LGBTQ individuals under the auspices of “religious liberty” across a broad cross-section of public life, including housing and employment. Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern outlined examples of how individuals’ rights would be infringed upon by the new law:
It allows religious landlords to evict gay and trans renters; permits religious employers to fire workers for being LGBTQ; allows adoption agencies—private and state-run—to turn away same-sex couples; allows private businesses to refuse services to gay people; allows clerks and judges to refuse to marry same-sex couples; and forbids trans students from using public school bathrooms that align with their gender identity. No state has ever passed a law so blatantly rooted in malevolent animus toward LGBTQ people.
Cuomo has taken an activist approach to regressive legislation in southern states; last week, he issued a similar ban on non-essential state travel to North Carolina after its Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law similar allowances for discrimination in public life against LGBTQ individuals under the guise of religious freedom.