California Rejects Lexington's Request for Travel Ban Exemption

Jun 29, 2017

The state of California has denied Lexington’s request to be exempted from a travel ban to Kentucky.  Mayor Jim Gray received a letter from the California Attorney General Thursday.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has informed Lexington Mayor Jim Gray that his state is unable to exempt the city from a ban on travel to Kentucky
Credit AP via Lexington Herald-Leader/

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra acknowledged Mayor Gray’s statement that Lexington has been working to be an open and welcoming place.

Becerra pointed out that his state’s legislation prohibits state-supported travel to states that authorize discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

In turning down Lexington’s request to be exempted from the travel ban, the California official referenced Kentucky Senate Bill 17, saying it could allow student-run organizations in colleges and K-12 schools to discriminate against classmates.

Becerra made it clear that the California law prohibits the travel to “states” and does not provide exemptions for any political subdivisions within a state.

The letter from California’s Attorney General was copied to Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear as well as eight Kentucky senators and Mary Quinn Ramer, the president of
VisitLex, the city’s convention and visitors agency.

Mayor Gray’s request for an exemption from California’s travel ban followed a similar request by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.