SB447 - Bridge Project
When I was a teenager growing up in rural Virginia, the idea of being accepted as a lesbian was a foreign concept. Times have changed, but for so many in the LGBTQ+ community, the feelings of isolation and fear remain. Lifting the travel ban and putting a program in its place that would infuse inclusive, non-partisan messages in other states is a way that California can help build a bridge of inclusion and acceptance,” – Senate Leader Toni Atkins, author of SB 447
SB 447, which lifts the travel ban and creates in its place a program to encourage acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, was passed by the California State Legislature. It was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 13, 2023 and took effect immediately.
The bill creates a fund that could be used to create non-partisan, inclusive messaging, discourage discrimination, and help members of the LGBTQ+ community feel less isolated. Called the BRIDGE Project – Building and Reinforcing Inclusive, Diverse, Gender-Supportive Equality – the legislation will help California champion compassion and help build bridges to unite and unify communities.
California’s previous law on the matter – AB 1887 – restricted state agencies, departments, boards, and commissions from using taxpayer funds to travel to states that have adopted discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ laws. While the travel ban originally restricted travel to four states, that number had grown to include 26 states. The travel ban had the unintended impact of further isolating members of the LGBTQ+ community in those states, and hampered Californians from being able to conduct research, business, and engage with all people from those states. With an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills having been introduced in state legislatures nationwide, California can now further position itself as a national leader on inclusivity and serve as a beacon of hope and support for those who have been isolated by state-sponsored discrimination elsewhere. For more information, you can find the bill language here.