Written by ISABEL GUERRIERA & EMILY DEMIRJIAN
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is angry over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order banning non-essential state travel to North Carolina.
New York’s travel ban is in response to a controversial North Carolina law which states that transgender people cannot use restrooms of the gender that they identify with, overrides local ordinances outlawing wage, employment and accommodation discrimination and forces people identify with the biological sex written on their birth certificate.
McCrory called Cuomo’s official travel ban “hypocritical” and referred to the upcoming NCAA men’s basketball game between Syracuse University and the University of North Carolina, which is being played in Houston this Saturday
“Syracuse is playing in the Final Four in Houston where voters overwhelmingly rejected a nearly identical bathroom ordinance that was also rejected by the state of North Carolina; is Governor Cuomo going to ask the Syracuse team to boycott the game in Houston? It’s total hypocrisy and demagoguery if the governor does not, considering he also visited Cuba, a communist country with a deplorable record of human rights violations,” said Josh Ellis, Communications Director for Gov. McCrory.
Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi responded.
“There is a fundamental difference between legislative action that strips LGBT people of their rights and taking affirmative steps to help change long standing practices in a foreign country, elected officials in this country have an affirmative obligation to protect the rights of all their citizens,” he said. “Deflecting from that obligation is not an answer.”
The controversial North Carolina law that instigated Cuomo’s ban was passed hastily to overturn a Charlotte ordinance that would have provided new legal for transgender people in that city.
This is not the first time that New York has banned travel to a state based on LGBT inequality. Last year, official state travel was temporarily banned to Indiana for a similar law against the LGBT community. Indiana changed their law, which led to the end of the travel ban.
Assembly members Harry Bronson, Daniel O’Donnell and Deborah Glick, who are all openly gay politicians, applaud Cuomo’s decision.
“Gov. Pat McCrory ought to be ashamed of his trans-phobic stance and the disservice he has committed toward North Carolinians,” Bronson said. “His executive order is nothing more than legal discrimination against the gay, lesbian and transgender communities. I applaud and join Governor Cuomo in his call for a travel ban for state employees to North Carolina and ask that new Yorkers show their support for our transgender brothers and sisters by calling on Gov. McCrory to rescind his misguided order.”
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom supports Gov. McCrory and his decision to enforce this law. The Rev. Jason McGuire, executive director of the organization, says Cuomo is a hypocrite because he allows travel to Cuba, but won’t allow travel to North Carolina.
The largely symbolic ban will remain in effect until the North Carolina law is overturned.
“In New York, we believe that all people — regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation — deserve the same rights and protections under the eyes of the law,” Cuomo said. “As long as there is a law in North Carolina that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people, I am barring non-essential state travel to that state.”