On Wednesday, Mayor Michael Nutter officially denounced the passage of discriminatory “Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA)” laws in states like Indiana and others across the country.
“In recent weeks, we have been reminded time and time again that not all men and women are treated equally in the United States,” Nutter said, noting that more than 85 anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in states across the country, with such legislation passing in Indiana and Arkansas. “These bills, which have been the focus of much debate and media attention, hide prejudice behind claims of religious freedom and endorse discrimination rather than support the rights of all Americans.”
The governors of Connecticut, New York and Washington, as well as mayors of several cities, issued bans last week on government-funded travel to Indiana in protest of the law, which critics says essentially grants businesses a license to discriminate against LGBTs.
Nutter did not propose a similar travel ban in his latest remarks.
Instead, he encouraged other mayors and citizens to stand up against such discriminatory laws. He also emphasized Philadelphia’s perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index, for two years in a row.
“We are proof-positive that cities can support, embrace and protect LGBT rights even when its state does not,” Nutter said.
The uproar from major corporations and civil-rights groups around the country eventually prompted Indiana legislator to “fix” the bill. The amended legislation explicitly spelled out that individual business owners could not claim their religious beliefs to refuse service to LGBTs. However the bill, and other near-identical RFRA laws making their way through other state legislatures, are still widely viewed as discriminatory.
From our media partner PGN