Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza signed an executive order Thursday prohibiting non-essential city funded travel to North Carolina and Mississippi following the passage of laws limiting access to public services and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and gender non-conforming people.
“The City of Providence is committed to fostering an inclusive environment for everyone who lives, travels, and works here,” said Mayor Elorza. “We stand in solidarity with residents in North Carolina and Mississippi who are being denied the same rights and protections that anyone should expect.”
Elorza said in a statement that Providence “has always made it a priority to prevent discrimination and to speak out against the inequitable treatment of individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.” Since taking office, Mayor Elorza has appointed Marisa O’Gara, Deputy Chief of Staff, as the City’s LGBT Liaison, expanded gender neutral restrooms in publically-owned facilities, and adopted an inclusive healthcare policy for city employees and retirees to cover transition-related services.
North Carolina and Mississippi have recently passed legislation that Elorza says counters the values and priorities of the City of Providence. In North Carolina, The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act prohibits localities from extending anti-discrimination protections to LGBT people and bans transgender people from using bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. In Mississippi, the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act allows businesses to deny products and services to the LGBT community based on religious and moral convictions.
This travel ban prohibits an officer or employee of the city to use city funds for non-essential official travel to North Carolina or Mississippi until these acts have been enjoined or repealed.