The controversial and much debated laws regarding LGBT rights enacted by North Carolina and Mississippi could affect the U.S. states’ tourism.
The legislation passed by North Carolina and Mississippi has prompted the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office to warn gay and transgender travelers to be wary of the U.S. The update, posted on the UK Foreign Office’s website, emphasizes on the issues that gay and transgender people could face during their visit.
“The U.S. is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country,” the update said. “LGBT travelers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi.”
The update comes as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be traveling to the UK to join the celebrations for Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday.
“It is both frightening and embarrassing that one of our nation’s staunchest allies has warned its citizens of the risks of traveling to North Carolina and Mississippi because of anti-LGBT laws passed by their elected officials,” Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global, said.
“It is now more clear than ever that these terrible measures are not only harming individuals and taking an economic toll on the states, but are also causing serious damage to our nation’s reputation, and the perceived safety of LGBT people who travel here.”
North Carolina’s HB2 law, or the bathroom law, says that transgender individuals should only use bathrooms according to the gender on their birth certificates, CNN reported.
While the law has been met with strong opposition and resistance from gay rights groups since it was passed, celebrities like Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Pearl Jam have cancelled their concerts in the state.
Mississippi’s “Religious Liberty Accommodations Act,” HB 1523, gives business or institutions the right to refuse services to LGBT. According to the law, tax payer-funded faith organizations and institutions could refuse to provide services, marry, deny placement of homeless children with LGBT families (even if it is the child’s family member), and refuse to sell or rent a for profit home to gay people.
According to the Huffington Post, there are currently as many as 100 active bills pending in 22 states that could impact the lives of LGBT people.