Columbus plans to ban all unnecessary travel to North Carolina by city employees in the wake of
that state’s new law that many feel discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
Franklin County Commissioners also are planning to ban non-essential travel for board of
commissioners employees to North Carolina and Mississippi.
Columbus City Councilman Shannon G. Hardin, an openly gay member of council, said he plans to
present the ordinance for approval as early as the council’s meeting at 5 p.m. today at City
Hardin said he and his colleagues have been considering the ban for more than a week after other
Ohio cities such as Dayton and Cincinnati took such measures.
“Sometimes, you have to step out there and show folks what you believe,” Hardin said. “And in
Columbus, we believe in an inclusive community.”
Commissioners will vote on a ban on April 26.
“Discrimination is a non-starter for us,” Commission President John O’Grady said. “It’s hard to
imagine how these sorts of laws get passed in 2016, but it’s an easy call to take our business
At issue for many is a North Carolina law that prevents transgender people from using the
restroom of his or her preference. The law also requires transgender people to use restrooms
corresponding to their biological sex.
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther said he supports the travel ban.
“North Carolina’s HB2 serves no purpose other than to encourage hate and exclusion for members
of the LGBTQ community,” he said. “We must work together in doing our part to overturn this
City officials and the Central Ohio Transit Authority had planned a trip to Charlotte, N.C.,
next month to study the city’s light rail and other modes of public transit.
COTA has postponed the trip.
Marty Stutz, a spokesman for COTA, said the junket was postponed because not enough people could
or would make the trip. He said it would be beneficial to reschedule the tour at a later date.
“What we hope is the governor and state legislature will rethink this law and pull back,” Hardin
said. “This is not about penalizing Charlotte, which is trying to do the right thing.”
Columbus voters approved language in the city’s charter in 2014 language that the city will not
discriminate or deny rights to people no matter their sexual orientation.
Columbus officials have been vocal for years in their support of gay marriage and gay
Columbus joins about 20 other cities across the country that have banned travel to North
As well, performance troupe Cirque du Soleil has canceled performances in three North Carolina
cities in protest over the new law, the Canadian-based company announced Friday. The entertainers
join Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and others who have canceled shows in the state after Gov. Pat
McCrory signed HB2 into law.
“Cirque du Soleil strongly believes in diversity and equality for every individual and is
opposed to discrimination in any form,” reads a statement from Cirque du Soleil. “The new HB2
legislation passed in North Carolina is an important regression to ensuring human rights for
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said on Friday that the North Carolina law is “problematic” for the
league, but he said there is no decision on moving next year’s All-Star Game out of Charlotte. He
hopes that lawmakers change the law before the NBA is forced to weigh action.
Reporter Rick Rouan contributed to this story. Information from The Washington Post and The
Associated Press was used in this story.