DC Hops On Indiana Travel ‘Ban’dwagon
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser jumped on the bandwagon of states prohibiting workers from doing business in Indiana Tuesday after she signed an executive order condemning the state’s new religious freedom act.
The ban, though, is purely symbolic as there are no plans for any D.C. employees to travel to Indiana in the near future, according to LaToya Foster, the mayor’s spokesperson.
“No, there is nothing coming down the pipeline,” she said.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is intended to stop laws that would inhibit a person, business or religious institution’s ability to exercise their beliefs, but some people are saying the law is meant to discriminate against gay people.
The executive order issued by Bowser will ban travel to the state indefinitely, “until such time that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is permanently enjoined, repealed, or clarified to forbid any construction that would deny public accommodations to persons based on their sexual or gender identity.”
Bowser’s executive order claims the state of Indiana enacted the law specifically to discriminate against gay people in public accommodations, and since D.C. acts to support the values of inclusiveness and respect for all people, she had no choice but to ban travel.
D.C.’s mayor joins the mayors of other progressive cities, like San Francisco and Seattle in boycotting the law, which they see as an affront to gay people. But Indiana Gov. Mike Pence called it a “gross mischaracterization” to call the law a license to discriminate against gays in a press conference Tuesday.
Pence said the new RFRA law isn’t out of line with national standards, since Bill Clinton passed a similar national law in 1993 and at least 19 other states have RFRA laws on the books. He said the recent outrage is completely misguided.
“Some of the national reporting on this has been ridiculous,” Pence said.
Bowser used her Tuesday night State of the District Address to further push her support for the ban on travel to Indiana.
“We always stand with the LGBT community, we won’t sit by as discrimination is veiled in misguided belief,” she said in the speech.
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