Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Saturday prohibited employees travelling to Indiana on city funds, after protests against the State’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Murray emphasized that Seattle has been a leader in the fight to protect civil rights and equality for all people.
The decision comes in the backdrop of a law signed by Indiana Gov Mike Pence that allows businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians, citing religious reasons. The Indiana law would prevent the government from forcing business to provide service like wedding photography for same-sex weddings that might be objectionable on religious grounds.
“The bill is not about discrimination,” said Pence.
Murray stated that none of the taxpayer’s dollars should go towards supporting the discriminatory law. Pence, in an interview on Saturday, mentioned that he will support legislation to explain his law. He added that he supported religious liberty and was in discussions with religious leaders to clarify the intent of the law.
Several people came out in the streets, to rally against the law. The new law caused consumer review service Angie’s List to suspend its expansion plans in Indiana on Saturday. The service was in the process of acquiring $18.5 million incentive from Indianapolis Cit-County Council and for adding 1,000 jobs over five years.
Murray will issue an executive order next week that will prevent City employees from work-related and city-funded travel to the state of Indiana. All the departments will review City contracts to identify any contracts with businesses headquartered in Indiana. CEO Bill Oseterle stated that the expansion will be put on hold until they understand the implications of the act. Celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Andy Cohen have opposed the law.
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