Gloria wants ban on city travel to Indiana

Politics

Demonstrators gather outside the City County Building on March 30, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The group called on the state house to roll back the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. (Getty Images)

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SAN DIEGO – City councilman Todd Gloria requested Monday that San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer ban city-funded travel to Indiana after the state's new law allows businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers for religious reasons.

“In this case I don’t think San Diegans wants their taxpayer money to support discrimination in another state," said Gloria.“If it’s Indiana today it could be somewhere else tomorrow and if its LGBT people today, it would be another group of citizens tomorrow.”

Gloria initiated the request Monday following other cities around the U.S., including San Francisco and Seattle, who imposed similar bans in response to the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Connecticut's Governor Dan Malloy's also signed an executive order banning state-funded travel to Indiana.

"San Diego should join these other jurisdictions that have demonstrated their leadership forequality and let it be known that San Diego will rise up against these discriminatory practicestaking place in our nation," Gloria stated. "I request that you issue an Administrative Order that prohibits City of San Diego employeesfrom using public funds for travel to the state of Indiana until this discriminatory law is amendedor repealed."

Faulconer's office directed the City's Chief Operating Officer Monday to take the necessary actions to restrict publicly funded travel by city employees to Indiana if the law is not amended or repealed by next week.

"As a national chair of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, I believe in equal rights for all. Discrimination has no place in our society. I join Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard in calling for this law to be amended or repealed," Faulconer said.

Gov. Mike Pence quietly signed the RFRA into law last week. The law allows businesses in the state to cite religious beliefs as a legal defense.

San Diego legal analyst Jonathan Brenner believes the governor's intention may have been misunderstood.

“What they are trying to do is clarify first amendment and religious freedoms people have in this country," said Brenner. “And he wants to make clear that you can't discriminate against those people beliefs.”

Opponents of the new law say it gives legal protection for businesses to refuse service to LGBT people.

About 20 other states, including Texas, Florida, Illinois and Louisiana, have passed religious freedom laws since 1993 that are the same or similar to Indiana’s. Those laws passed for the most part with little or no controversy. The passage of Indiana’s law comes at a time of debate over same-sex marriage legislation that heightens the public sensitivity over sexual and other types of discrimination.

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