Minnesota governor bans official state travel to Mississippi

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has instructed all state employees to refrain from any non-essential travel to Mississippi after the state’s governor signed a law Tuesday allowing religious groups and private businesses to deny services to gay and transgender people.

On Saturday, Dayton banned all nonessential state travel to North Carolina after the state passed its Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which limits protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

"I mean, the one in Mississippi is so egregious," Gov. Dayton said. "I mean, open the door. I respect anyone's religious beliefs, that’s a First Amendment right. But to say anybody can say this is my belief and I don’t have to follow laws of equal rights, equal guarantees, equal services to people, based on their sexual orientation, is a fundamental violation of their constitutional guarantees which have been established by federal law, longstanding. The fact that they’re changing this...it’s just a step backward for this country.”  

These measures have popped up in a handful of states in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision last summer that legalized gay marriage nationwide.

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Written statement from Gov. Dayton

"This act of discrimination is discriminatory against many Mississippi residents, and violates their Constitutional rights. We cannot allow this injustice to go unanswered. When the rights of some Americans are threatened, it is the responsibility of all Americans to stand in opposition to those discriminatory acts. Minnesota has made great progress to protect the rights and dignity of all people in our state. Now, we will do what we can as Minnesotans, to support and defend the rights of others."