Supporters of common decency in New York may remember the nationwide controversy that erupted last year following the passage of House Bill Two (HB2) in North Carolina. HB2 was the law passed to protect North Carolinians from having transgender bathroom use inflicted upon them in public places. The backlash following the passage of HB2 from LGBT activists and LGBT allies in corporate America was intense, and it played a major role in the defeat of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory last November. Also, after HB2 became law, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (never one to avoid LGBT grandstanding) retaliated against the State of North Carolina by taking executive action to ban non-essential state travel to that State. At the time, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms railed against the Governor’s action, calling it petty and mean-spirited.
Recent news has demonstrated that Gov. Cuomo’s North Carolina travel ban is not just petty and mean-spirited, but also problematic for New Yorkers. On September 29, the Albany Times Union reported that The University at Albany’s football team was planning to stay at a hotel 70 miles away from the location of a scheduled game against Elon University in North Carolina. The reason? The team had to stay at an out-of-state hotel to avoid unnecessary travel to North Carolina, and to avoid spending state funds at a North Carolina hotel. To make matters more absurd, Gov. Cuomo’s travel ban remains in place even though HB2 was partially repealed earlier this year.
Like many other actions taken by Gov. Cuomo, the North Carolina travel ban does not help the people of the State of New York in any way. Instead, it enhances the Governor’s socially liberal resumé in preparation for next year’s gubernatorial campaign, and in anticipation of a potential presidential campaign in 2020.
Gov. Cuomo, rescind the ridiculous North Carolina travel ban now.