‘Now, of course, it’s patently ridiculous to ban travel to American states for supposed “anti-gay” legislation when there are countries around the world — Muslim countries in the Middle East come to mind — where gay people are violently persecuted.’
I could just as well say “of course, it is patently ridiculous to tell your friend they shouldn’t be a jerk when there are so many jerks around the world.” But telling your friend they shouldn’t be a jerk is likely to have a different effect than telling a stranger. Telling a stranger has a greater possibily that you make the problem worse, or you simply have no effect. But telling a friend has a higher probability of a positive effect.
Clearly a policy should be evaluated by whether it can effect change. A travel ban to other states will undoubtedly have different effects than a travel ban to other nations, due to the different relationships California has with other states versus other nations. The dollar talks, and economic ties are important to the states. Not so much to these other nations. So if a ban to other countries has no chance of success, why implement the policy?
In fact, reading the text of the travel ban bill, it is hard to imagine any possible travel to other countries that would even be affected (how many conferences are in, say, Saudi Arabia?). Adding them to the bill would yield no difference, and no effect. So why bother, and possibly incur some unintended negative consequences for no potential gain?
This is not to say I agree with the ban; it is only to point out that in fact it is not ridiculous to focus on other states and not other nations. It is entirely rational.