New York, Connecticut governors lift bans on state-funded travel to Indiana

New York, Connecticut governors lift bans on state-funded travel to Indiana
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy on Saturday lifted their bans on some state-funded travel to Indiana, citing changes made to a religious-objections law that had spurred concern about anti-gay discrimination.

Cuomo enacted New York’s ban Tuesday, saying he sought to ensure that gay people’s rights are respected.

Cuomo, who campaigned for and signed the state’s 2011 law allowing same-sex marriage, and Malloy were among a number of governors and mayors to enact travel prohibitions.

“I believe the changes enacted by the Indiana executive and Legislature should prevent the Religious Freedom Restoration Act from being used to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender citizens and travelers,” the Cuomo said in a statement Saturday.

New York City has also lifted its ban on non-essential travel to the state, the mayor’s office said.

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Malloy signed an executive order Monday barring state spending on travel to Indiana and any other state enacting similar legislation.

“Unlike Connecticut – which has been a national leader in LGBTQ protections – this is the first time that Indiana has codified any protections for individuals based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Malloy said. “While the law even in its amended version remains divisive, I believe it is a step in the right direction.”

Connecticut has a longstanding religious freedom law but does not allow religion to be a basis for discrimination.

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Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-Conn.)
Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-Conn.)

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Malloy, incoming chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said Saturday that Connecticut would continue to monitor other states for laws similar to the original Indiana law.

“We cannot watch states pass laws that seek to turn back the clock either on Connecticut residents, or our fellow Americans. We have an obligation to do what’s right and to protect against discrimination whenever and wherever we see it,” he said.

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Controversy arose in recent weeks over new Indiana and Arkansas measures that barred state and local governments from impinging on people’s ability to follow their religious beliefs, with some limitations.

Supporters said the legislation would protect religious liberties. But critics said they could be used to discriminate against LGBT individuals. Some big businesses, including Apple and Walmart, joined gay rights advocates and others in decrying such laws.

The Republican governors of both states signed amended versions of the laws Thursday, hoping to quiet the outcry. The Indiana version was changed to prohibit businesses from using the law as a defense for denying service based on someone’s sexual orientation.

Washington governor Jay Inslee rescinded a similar ban in his state on Friday.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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