California Bans Travel to Oklahoma over ‘Discriminatory’ Gay Adoption Law, OU-UCLA Football Likely Exempted

Xavier Beccera
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

The state of California has banned travel to Oklahoma over its supposed “discriminatory” gay adoption law, but OU-UCLA football will likely be exempted, a report says.

The ban was leveled as part of California’s 2017 law that prohibits the state’s public university systems from sending students or staff to states deemed politically incorrect for one reason or another. Despite the ban, though, California’s athletic teams have in some cases been permitted to travel to the “banned” states despite the designation.

As June began, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that Oklahoma had been added as the ninth state on the banned travel list after the “Sooner State” passed what California deemed “discriminatory legislation” that would allow private adoption services to refuse to place children with gay couples based on religious grounds.

According to Becerra’s office, “Oklahoma will be added to the list of restricted states for state-funded travel based on the discriminatory law that would allow private adoption agencies to refuse services to LGBTQ parents and foster children based on religious/moral grounds.”

Oklahoma joins eight other states on the banned travel list. The other states include Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

Still, despite the ban, UCLA’s football team is still scheduled to travel to Oklahoma for a Sept. 8 game and the schedule is not likely going to be changed. The excuse for keeping the game is that the home-and-home series was scheduled back in 2013, several years before California’s travel ban was instituted, according to NewsOK.

So far the state’s travel ban has not had full impact on college sports even though the law ostensibly does cover travel from all colleges that take state funding. But as previously scheduled games fall off the list, the ban will have more impact. Already many California colleges are seeking private funding to cover the costs of conferences and games in the banned states, but that stopgap likely still violates the spirit of the law.

As the possibility looms that the ban will have more serious effects, some lawmakers think that the ban should be re-tooled to exempt college sports. Indeed, Assemblyman Matthew Harper, R-Huntington Beach, recently introduced Assembly Bill 2389 that would do just that by exempting state-supported college athletics from the travel ban.

There have been other consequences from the ban, as well. For instance, the travel law has many college athletic programs worried over recruiting concerns. Colleges are starting to find that some top prospects are expressing less interest in attending school in a state that won’t let students compete on a national scale.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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