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Baker balks at banning state travel to N.C.

Governor Charlie Baker.
Governor Charlie Baker.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe/File 2016

Governor Charlie Baker has declined to join a growing list of elected officials banning government-sponsored travel to North Carolina after that state’s passage of a law condemned by gay and transgender rights advocates.

The North Carolina measure requires people to use public restrooms that correspond with their biological sex, blocking transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity. The law also bars cities from passing ordinances that protect gay and transgender people from discrimination.

Governors in several states, including New York and Vermont, have barred state travel to North Carolina. The Boston City Council has banned city-sponsored travel to the state.

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“Governor Baker disagrees with the North Carolina law and is proud that Massachusetts has been and will continue to be a leader on equality, but is not proposing any restrictions on the ability of the Commonwealth’s employees to do their important work,” said Baker spokesman Tim Buckley, in a statement Tuesday.

Asked about a potential ban earlier in the day, Baker did not directly answer the question.

“We have pretty limited travel at this point in time anyway, and unless somebody has a really good reason for going there, we would expect people certainly between now and the end of the legislative session [in July] to be spending their time here,” he said. “I’m not aware of anybody who’s traveling to North Carolina anytime soon.”

Transgender rights advocates in Massachusetts are pushing for legislation that would bar discrimination in restaurants, shopping malls, and other public accommodations.

Baker, a Republican, has declined to take a position on the measure, saying “the devil is always in the details.” He opposed similar legislation as a failed gubernatorial candidate in 2010.


David Scharfenberg can be reached at david.scharfenberg@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @dscharfGlobe.