Gov. Mark Dayton, in response to Mississippi making it legal for people there to be denied service based on sexual orientation, instructed Minnesota state employees to refrain from any nonessential travel to that state as long as its law remains in force.
The law that Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed Tuesday allows religious groups and private businesses to deny services to gay and transgender people. It follows similar attempts in other states that have been made since last year’s Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide. Bryant, a Republican, said the law protects religious freedom. It takes effect July 1.
Dayton issued a similar directive Saturday that was aimed at North Carolina over that state’s recent law to limit rights of its transgender citizens.
In the wake of Dayton’s earlier directive, Metro Transit said it was canceling plans to send employees to the American Public Transit Association Conference and International Bus Roadeo, an annual convention to be held in Charlotte, N.C., in May.
The governor’s action against North Carolina is “one of the grandest and most bizarre political panderings of all time,” said a statement issued Tuesday by the Minnesota Republican Party.
Last week, Republican Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a similar religious objections bill after big companies including Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines and others expressed vehement opposition, and national sports organizations hinted that they might hold their important events elsewhere. In North Carolina, an economic backlash broadened Tuesday, with PayPal announcing it canceled a major expansion in the state.
At the Minnesota State Capitol, a group of Republican legislators recently unveiled a proposal that would require people to use bathrooms and changing rooms that match their “biological sex.” The measure would govern the use of public restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms.
South Dakota’s governor vetoed a proposal limiting bathroom options for transgender people.