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New York’s travel ban over religious freedom law hits Southern Miss sports: games canceled, revenue lost

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ban on nonessential travel to Mississippi prevents New York university from playing there

The New York state government’s backlash to Mississippi’s religious freedom law has forced the baseball team from the University of Southern Mississippi to give up several of its home games, costing it revenue shortly after it enacted millions of dollars in budget cuts and layoffs.

The religious freedom law, House Bill 1523, forbids the Mississippi government from taking “any discriminatory action” against individuals, businesses or religious organizations who refuse to provide service to people based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.” But New York’s political leaders have declared that legalized discrimination and forbid non-essential travel there.

Shortly after the law’s passage about two years ago, New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order “banning all non-essential state travel to Mississippi,” according to the governor’s website. Cuomo referred to the Mississippi law at the time as “a sad, hateful injustice against the LGBT community,” and will not allow New York employees to go to that state on nonessential business until the law is repealed.

Due to that travel ban, the baseball team at the State University of New York at Stony Brook cancelled three games scheduled to take place in Mississippi this semester, according to The New York Daily News.

Reached via email, Southern Mississippi spokesman Jack Duggan told The College Fix that the cancellation “will have a bit of economic impact for our program as we lose the single-game revenue for those three home dates. You also have to go on the road now, but we’re confident in our ability to handle the adjustment and I don’t think it will affect our season in any way.”

The lost revenue comes shortly after the University of Southern Mississippi was forced to cut its budget by $80 million, laying off 20 employees at the same time. The school may face an additional two percent in funding cuts in the near future.

In addition, last July the university laid off three employees and eliminated over thirty vacant job positions due to state budget cuts.

The College Fix reached out to both Stony Brook University and New York Governor Cuomo’s office for comment. Neither responded.

Cuomo had previously banned all nonessential travel to North Carolina due to that state’s legislation mandating that individuals in government buildings cannot use the bathrooms of the opposite sex. Stony Brook spokesman Brian Miller told The Mississippi Sun Herald that college officials “did not realize that the travel ban included Mississippi…We knew it was North Carolina, but we did not realize that it included Mississippi.”

MORE: California’s travel ban harms university research more than it helps LGBTQ cause

MORE: University de-Christianizes chapel because anti-religion group said it looks religious

IMAGE: David Carillet / Shutterstock.com

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About the Author
Bethany Torstenson is a sophomore at Vanguard University of Southern California. She is double majoring in broadcast journalism, and in political science. Bethany has previously worked with the Republican Party of Wisconsin, and Americans for Prosperity. One day, Bethany hopes to become a multimedia broadcast journalist, and eventually run for president.

Add to the Discussion

  • Ralph Davis

    Good. Stay the hell out of Mississippi. We don’t want a bunch of tight-assed, preachy liberal snowflakes in our state anyhow.

  • John_In_Michigan

    If this keeps up New Yorkers will be trapped in their state, unable to leave. I wonder what would happen if the banned states reciprocated?

    • CalWoman

      That was my first reaction. If you won’t come here, we won’t go there. But that sure would hurt the competitive nature of playing sports.

    • Fred

      Good! They deserve it.

  • cestusdei

    Wait a sec. A baker must bake a cake even for something he objects to, such as a gay “wedding”, Klan rally, or whatever.

    Therefore, these teams MUST go to Southern Miss. They cannot out of conscience refuse to go anymore then the baker can refuse to bake. NY is guilty of discrimination. Especially since Southern Miss has many black students who are hurt by this. Which makes NY RACIST, gasp. Sue NY on the same grounds the bakers are being sued. Love wins!

  • Byrd Westbrook

    Yankees staying put in that Shite Whole of a state is a good thing.

  • NDaniels

    If the purpose of athletics is to promote “the physical, mental, moral, social, and emotional well being of the individual players”, and Andrew Cuomo has decided that discriminating between appropriate and inappropriate behavior, including sexual behavior, does not serve to promote the physical, mental, moral, social, and emotional well being of the individual purpose of athletics, then why not do away with all team sports in New York, as they no longer serve a purpose for Andrew Cuomo? Revenue may be lost, but if sports teams no longer serve a purpose, then why compete as a team?

    If Andrew Cuomo truly believed in the well being of the individual players then he would have suggested a solution for those who feel their gender is not reflective of their biological sex such as the use of a gender neutral private bathroom/dressing/shower facility, thus respecting the privacy of all our beloved sons and daughters.