Students belonging to a rocketry club at a California community college won’t be allowed to compete in NASA’s highly competitive Student Launch project due to a the state’s new LGBT-spurred travel ban. It appears the Citrus College Rocket Owls — who qualified to participate in NASA’s project in Huntsville, Alabama — won’t be able to make it thanks to AB 1887, which bars taxpayer dollars from being spent on travel to states with laws with “discriminatory legislation.”
What constitutes LGBT “discrimination” appears to be up to state agencies to decide. So far, they’ve decided it includes laws allowing private foster agencies to prioritize placing children with married heterosexual couples. In some states, such agencies, which are primarily religious, provide large numbers of foster placements for distressed children and banning their charitable efforts means huge overloads for social services. A Kentucky law allowing private student organizations to uphold teachings about sexuality in line with their stated religious beliefs also got it placed under California’s travel ban.
Teams from three other California universities will travel to the competition in April, but use private funds to do so, according to Arleigh Davis, at the Citrus College Clarion. Math professor Paul Swatzel has donated $500 to the Owls in hopes they will be able to attend the event if they can pay for travel expenses out of pocket, ABC7 reports.
It is unclear if Citrus College will allow these students to compete and if they will be able to privately fund their attempt to represent the school.
“I respect the California Department of Education for taking a stand against discrimination, but it doesn’t benefit the people in the eight states with the ban, and it is only hurting California students,” Rocket Owl team member Austin Langrehr told the Clarion.