Portland, Maine is the latest
municipality to bar city workers from traveling to Mississippi and
North Carolina in response to recently enacted laws in those states
that target the LGBT community.
The Portland City Council on Monday
unanimously approved the travel ban, making Portland the first city
in Maine to take such an action. At least 20 other cities and five
states have taken similar steps.
North Carolina's law, House Bill 2,
prohibits cities from approving LGBT protections and bars students
attending public institutions and state workers from using the
bathroom that does not conform to their gender at birth.
Mississippi's law, House Bill 1523,
allows businesses to deny services to LGBT people based on their
“sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.”
Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling said the
travel restriction is about sending a message to those states.
“This is both practical, but it's
also a statement,” Strimling
said. “It's also to let them know that if something came up,
we won't go. Regardless, if there's anything in the pipeline right
now for us, protecting the LGBTQ community is an important value in
The ban is limited to non-essential
travel to those states.