Washington Governor Jay Inslee announce on Monday his intention to ban state-funded travel to Indiana, in response to the state’s controversial new religious freedom bill that may allow discrimination towards LGBT couples and individuals.
“I find Indiana’s new law disturbing, particularly at a time when more and more states and people in America are embracing civil rights for everyone,” Inslee said in a statement. “Washington will join other states and cities in opposing this law and I will impose an administration-wide ban on state funded travel to Indiana.”
Inslee’s statement referenced a case in which a florist in Washington was recently ordered to pay a fine because she refused to work with a gay couple that requested her services.
“Indiana’s law appears to legalize private discrimination. Washington state fought against this very thing in a case Attorney General Bob Ferguson brought against a florist,” Inslee said. “We in Washington stand for equality. I applaud those companies and organizations that have spoken out against the law and said they would not locate or expand operations in Indiana. I want to invite all those organizations, and anyone interested in a state that promotes equality and opportunity, to come visit Washington. We are open for business, and open to all people.”
Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who has defended his decision to sign the Religious Freedom Restoration Act despite nationwide outrage, signed it into law last week. Pence maintained that the law has been “grossly misconstrued as a 'license to discriminate.'"
“I abhor discrimination. I believe in the Golden Rule that you should 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” Pence wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. “If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore. As governor of Indiana, if I were presented a bill that legalized discrimination against any person or group, I would veto it. Indiana’s new law contains no reference to sexual orientation. It simply mirrors federal law that President Bill Clinton signed in 1993.”