Philadelphia mayor bans travel to TN over new counseling law

Tennessee’s controversial new law allowing mental health counselors to turn away LGBT clients has prompted Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to ban publicly funded, non-essential travel by city workers to the Volunteer State, according to the Times-Free Press.

Meanwhile, a New York state assemblyman state is urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to do the same.

… Philadelphia Mayor Kenney’s order on Monday, first reported by NBC affiliate WCAU-TV, is the first action by a government over the Tennessee legislation, which Gov. Bill Haslam last month signed into law April 27 after fellow Republicans in the General Assembly passed the measure.

Kenney’s order extends his previously issued directive aimed at Mississippi and North Carolina to Tennessee and Oxford, Ala., all of which have enacted measures critics charge negatively impact lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.

In a statement, Kenney said “I am announcing this ban in response to the enactment of legislation that infringes the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in these jurisdictions.”

Kenney said he would “reconsider this ban if the States of North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee and the city of Oxford, Alabama choose to repeal their discriminatory legislation.”

The mayor’s directive creates an exemption if the travel is deemed “essential to public health and safety.

Philadelphia’s action comes on the heels of last month’s announcement by Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, who said the new Tennessee law was partially responsible for her decision not to attend this summer’s conference of the nation’s 50 secretaries of state in Nashville.