California ban won’t stop Alabama from hosting Fresno State

Alabama Football

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Fresno State’s football game at the University of Alabama this fall is expected to go on as scheduled, despite California’s decision to ban travel to Alabama by its state employees.

“We look forward to the game” on Sept. 9 in Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama spokeswoman Kellee Reinhart said Friday.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra expanded his state’s no-travel list on Thursday to include Alabama after lawmakers in Montgomery voted to allow foster and adoption organizations to deny services to people because of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Lawmakers in Sacramento last year banned non-essential travel by California state employees to places that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee were already on the list; Now Alabama — along with Kentucky, Texas and South Dakota — have joined them.

The California law exempts contractual obligations entered into before 2017, and the contract for the game was signed in 2015, Reinhart said.

Fresno State spokesman Matt Burkholder also said they don’t anticipate the game being affected, given the longstanding contract.

The impact on future games is unclear, however. A request for a legal opinion on whether public university sports’ travel is exempt has been filed with Becerra’s office, but no ruling has been issued.

Rep. Patricia Todd, Alabama’s only openly gay lawmaker, said she had warned her colleagues there could be consequences to taking actions seen as discriminatory.

“I hope that people who always talk about the jobs, jobs, jobs will take a look that the harm of passing this kind of legislation to address a problem that does not exist,” Todd said.

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Associated Press Writer Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento contributed to this story