Gov. Jay Inslee says he is imposing an administration-wide ban on state-funded travel to Indiana after the passage of a new law that critics say has the potential to discriminate against gays and lesbians and others based on religious beliefs.
“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 Monday in a news release. “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.”
The governor’s statement came a few days after Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who is the city’s first openly gay mayor, banned city-funded travel to the state.
Inslee noted a recent case in Washington in which the state sued a Richland florist who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding. Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts, was fined $1,000 Friday for her refusal to serve two men when they sought to buy wedding flowers in 2013. Stutzman said the marriage went against her beliefs as a Southern Baptist.
Inslee also addressed those who have said they will not locate or expand business operations in Indiana.
“We in Washington stand for equality,” he said. “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.”
Republican legislative leaders in Indiana said Monday that they were working on adding language to the religious-objections law to make it clear that the measure does not allow discrimination against gays and lesbians. As signed by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence last week, the measure prohibits state laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs.