The mayor and city councilors will direct the city manager not to spend any city money on nonessential travel to two states that have repealed protections for gays and transgender people.

Mayor Ethan Strimling said Thursday the resolution, which is co-sponored by most of the council, will be taken up at the council’s April 25 meeting.

“We are joining the call of municipalities that are saying there will be no municipal dollars used to travel to the states that have repealed anti-discrimination laws,” Strimling said. “The people of Portland would not want that tax dollars spent in states that are repealing laws protecting the (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) community.”

North Carolina and Mississippi recently enacted laws removing civil rights protections for gay and transgender people, making it legal to refuse services based on religious objections.

The policies have provoked a backlash from both the private and public sector, with musicians canceling concerts, businesses pledging not to invest money in those states and political leaders condemning the laws.

So far, mayors and governors from New York, Washington and Vermont have banned some state-sponsored travel to North Carolina and Mississippi.

Portland’s resolution also comes about a week after anti-gay activist Michael Heath said he would pursue a statewide referendum to make a similar law change in Maine, which legalized gay marriage in 2012.

Strimling said the resolution would only apply to nonessential travel to the states. Travel deemed essential would be allowed, he said. City spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said essential employee travel would be travel that is necessary for the enforcement of an ordinance, to meet contractual obligations, or for the protection of public health, safety or welfare.

City officials could not immediately provide information about how much the city spends on essential and nonessential travel to these states.

Grondin said she was not aware of any upcoming trips involving city employees to either state that would be canceled.

This story will be updated.

Randy Billings can be reached at 791-6346 or at:

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