Because of North Carolina and Mississippi’s anti-LGBT laws, millions of dollars in tourism to the United States could be at risk.
The UK Foreign Office updated a foreign travel advice warning to British citizens about the United States.
“Laws vary from state to state,” the warning says. “The U.S. is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country. LGBT travelers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi.”
On March 23, House Bill 2 (HB2) was approved by North Carolina Republican legislature and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory that reversed a Charlotte legislature that extended a few rights to the LGBT community.
The same day that an ordinance passed that protected transgender people that use public restrooms based on their gender identity, a law was signed that night overriding that ordinance and making it illegal for people to use restrooms that differ from the gender identity written on their birth certificate.
The bill also blocks people from filing discrimination suits against their employers.
At the beginning of April, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1523 into law. This “religious liberties” law which will take place July 1, will protect individuals, religious organizations and certain businesses who have “the sincerely held religious belief or moral convictions” that marriage “should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.”
This means that businesses and religious groups can deny the LGBT community things like counseling, wedding planning and adoption support.
The legislation also blocks transgender people from using public bathrooms that match their sexual identity, but rather, their birth certificates.
Director of the LGBT Kaleidoscope Trust, Dr. Felicity Daly, said, “It is heartening the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is becoming more LGBT responsive in their work, it’s a good sign as it is an important issue in the UK, but most people who identify as LGBT in the UK will already be aware of the nature of certain states.”
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