Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he’ll ban city-government travel to Indiana, after Indiana’s passage of a law some see as potentially legalizing discrimination against gays.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced Saturday that he’ll ban city employees from work-related and city-funded travel to Indiana.
His decision was prompted by Indiana’s passage of a law that some see as potentially legalizing discrimination against gays and others, based on religious beliefs.
“I am ordering that none of our taxpayer dollars should go toward supporting this discriminatory law,” Murray said in a statement, adding that the law “doesn’t reflect the values of our city.”
Indiana’s Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill Thursday prohibiting state laws that “substantially burden” the ability of any person, religious institution, business or association to follow their religious beliefs.
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The intent is to prevent the government from compelling people to provide services they find objectionable on religious grounds. The law has prompted protests at the Indiana statehouse by opponents who say it could allow discrimination against gays.
The same issue in Washington state led to a court ruling against a florist who in 2013 refused on religious grounds to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.
On Friday, Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, was fined $1,000, plus $1 for court costs and fees.
Murray spokesman Viet Shelton said the mayor will issue an executive order next week that will formalize the ban and will additionally direct all city departments to conduct a review of current contracts to identify any the city may have with businesses headquartered in Indiana.
Shelton said Murray is also concerned that the U.S. Conference of Mayors is scheduled to meet in Indiana next year. He said Murray will begin “working with other mayors to see if there’s a way to re-evaluate that location.”
Pence told the Indianapolis Star on Saturday he has been in touch with legislative leaders and expects a bill to be introduced this week to “clarify the intent” of the law, according to The Associated Press. He declined to provide details, but said making gay and lesbian residents a protected legal class is “not on my agenda,” The Associated Press reported