New York has joined the growing opposition to Indiana's new and controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which could enable businesses to use religion as an excuse to discriminate. Following in the footsteps of governors from Connecticut and Washington, Governor Cuomo has directed "all agencies, departments, boards and commissions" in New York State to "immediately" review any requests to travel to Indiana with sponsorship or funding from the State. Soon after, Mayor de Blasio voiced his support for the ban.
"It's a deeply disturbing reality right now in Indiana," @BilldeBlasio saying he'll tell NYC agencies to ban nonessential travel there.
— Matthew Chayes (@chayesmatthew) March 31, 2015
Capital New York obtained a letter sent to Cuomo today from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the state Legislature. Writing as the "only openly LGBT members of the New York State Legislature," they urged Cuomo to issue an Executive Order barring state-funded travel to Indiana immediately.
The controversial bill was signed into effect last Thursday by Indiana's Republican Governor Mike Pence. Also known as Senate Bill 101, the bill "prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religions, but is widely believed to be a façade so that bigoted business owners and others are able to discriminate against LGBT individuals," as Chicagoist puts it. Governor Pence's public statement accompanying the signing is unambiguous about the law's conservative agenda: "Last year the Supreme Court upheld religious liberty in the Hobby Lobby case based on the federal Religious Freedom Act..."
Many fear the new law will enable caterers and photographers to deny services to same-sex couples. But at a press conference in Indianapolis this afternoon, a harried Governor Pence ("clearly exasperated and sighing audibly," according to the Times) announced that he is going to adjust his freshly-instated bill by the end of the week, stating, "I've come to the conclusion that it would be helpful to move legislation this week that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses the right to discriminate against anyone." The details of the adjustment are, however, "still being worked out."