Seattle Mayor to Ban City-Funded Travel to Indiana in the Wake of RFRA
Image courtesy of Thinkstock/ronniechua
In the latest counter to Indiana's passage of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray plans to sign an executive order this week banning city-funded travel to the Midwestern state, according to Alison Morrow of KING-TV.
Referring to the RFRA, which was signed into law by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence last week, Murray said that "laws that say you can discriminate have no place in this country."
"Seattle has been a leader in the fight to protect civil rights and ensure equality for all people — no matter who you are, or who you love," said Murray in a statement via ABCNews.com. "This is why I am ordering that none of our taxpayer dollars should go toward supporting this discriminatory law."
The new law is designed to protect business owners from potential lawsuits if they refuse to offer service to certain customers based on religious values. However, the law's opponents maintain that it allows businesses to discriminate against gays, lesbians, and others without fear of repercussion.
"I'm not doing this because I'm a gay man," said Murray. "You cannot say, 'You can't come into my restaurant because you're black and it's my religious belief not to serve you.' That is a settled question."
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is also expected to enact a similar ban, joining Murray and businesses like Angie's List and Salesforce.com that have canceled future plans involving Indiana.
Despite the swift reaction to Indiana's new polarizing legislation, not everyone is outraged over the law, with some standing up in support of freedom of religious choice. Pence has maintained that the law is not about discrimination, and said he would have vetoed it if that were the case.
Meanwhile, some others believe Murray has taken a weak stance considering the relatively minimal consequences. While the ban would prohibit municipal employees traveling to the Hoosier State on the city's dime, it wouldn't impact how private money is spent there.
"I think it's a childish stab, like, 'I don't want people going to that state,'" said Seattle resident Amanda Clark.
Oddly enough, next year's U.S. Conference of Mayors is scheduled to be held in Indiana. However, Murray and other opponents will likely request a change of venue if the law is still in place by that time.
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