NY, DC ban government-funded travel to Indiana

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced on Tuesday that they are banning all nonessential government-funded travel to Indiana in response to a state law that critics say would allow businesses to deny service to gay people.

“Today, I direct all agencies, departments, boards and commissions to immediately review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to the State of Indiana and to bar any such publicly funded travel that is not essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety,” Cuomo said in a statement. 

“The ban on publicly funded travel shall take effect immediately,” he continued. “New York State has been, and will continue to be, a leader in ensuring that all LGBT persons enjoy full and equal civil rights. With this action, we stand by our LBGT family members, friends and colleagues to ensure that their rights are respected.”

{mosads}Bowser issued a similar declaration last Tuesday afternoon, tweeting “discrimination is intolerable wherever it exists. I stand with the LGBT community on #RFRA.” 

Under the Indiana statute, business owners are exempt from actions that would place a “substantial burden” on their religious beliefs. Opponents of the law say the language could allow wedding vendors to deny service for same-sex ceremonies, for example.

The law has drawn a storm of criticism. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signed a similar executive order on Monday to ban state-funded travel to Indiana until it is reversed. 

Malloy labeled Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) “stupid” for signing the legislation on Tuesday. 

“The reality is the governor is not a stupid man, but he’s done stupid things. And signing this law, and quite frankly promoting this law, knowing exactly what it was going to do, was an incredibly stupid thing for him to do,” Malloy said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” 

“A member of the Army can be gay. And they go into a coffee shop in Indiana under this law, and someone says because you’re gay, even though you’re wearing the uniform of the United States of America, I’m not going to serve you,” Malloy continued. “That was the intent of this law.”

With the backlash growing, Pence called Tuesday morning for state lawmakers to quickly pass a fix to calm fears about discrimination against gay residents. 

“It would be helpful to move legislation this week that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses the right to deny services to anyone,” Pence said at a press conference Tuesday morning.

“We want to make it clear that Indiana is open for business, we want to make it clear that Hoosier hospitality is not a slogan, it’s our way of life.”

— This story was updated with new information at 5:35 p.m.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Dan Malloy Indiana Mike Pence Religious Freedom Restoration Act

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