Barack Obama condemns anti-LGBT laws in North Carolina, Mississippi
President Barack Obama condemned North Carolina and Mississippi anti-LGBT laws Friday, while he reassured LGBT British tourists of safe travel to those states.
The British Foreign Office recently released a travel advisory warning LGBT British subjects that “the US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country.”
Obama said the laws that have been passed in North Carolina and Mississippi “are wrong and should be overturned.”
The president, however, was quick to point out: “I think it’s fair to say we’re not unique among countries, where particularly under a federal system in which power is disbursed, that there are going to be some localities, or local officials that put forward laws that aren’t necessarily reflective of a national consensus.”
Barack Obama reassures British people
President Obama issued this response when the matter came up at the end of a press conference during his trip to London.
“I want everybody here in the United Kingdom to know that the people of North Carolina and Mississippi are wonderful people…you should come and enjoy yourselves,” Obama said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron defended the travel advisory, saying that LGBT British subjects planning a trip to North Carolina or Mississippi “may be affected by legislation passed recently” and they should be aware about those laws.
“The Foreign Office gives advice on travel, and it obviously deals with laws and situations as they are, and it tries to give that advice dispassionately, impartially,” Cameron said.
“Our view on any of these kinds of things is that we should use law to end discrimination, rather than embed it or enhance it,” he said. “And that’s something we’re comfortable saying to countries and friends anywhere in the world.”
Barack Obama mulls federal funding cut
President Obama’s statement addresses two bills that have been passed recently and their possible repercussions.
North Carolina’s House Bill 2 invalidates all non-discrimination protections for local LGBT and prohibits people from using government building restrooms in line with their gender identities.
Mississippi’s House Bill 1523 prevents government agencies from taking action against state employees, individuals, organizations and private associations that deny services to LGBT folk based on religious objections.
House Bill 1523 has been denounced by critics as the “most sweeping anti-LGBT legislation in the U.S.”
The laws are threatening to hurt the economies of both states as more influential companies and personalities change their plans or cancel their business engagements in protest.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s administration has called North Carolina’s House Bill 2 “mean-spirited” and is considering whether that piece of legislation makes the state ineligible for billions of dollars in federal funding.