Connecticut is First State to Take Stand Against Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence holds a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Pence has signed into law a religious objections bill that some convention organizers and business leaders have opposed amid concern it could allow discrimination against gay people. –Michael Conroy / AP

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy signed an executive order Monday banning state-funded travel to Indiana, in response to the Hoosier State’s new law that critics say allows discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Connecticut is now the first state to have made a public response to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has said that the law strengthens the foundations of the First Amendment by protecting religious liberty from government actions.

This has prompted critics, including Freedom of Indiana and the Human Rights Campaign, to say that the law allows businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Supporters of the law have pointed out that at least 19 other states have legislation to protect religious freedom.

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San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray also announced that they will not use taxpayer money to fund city employee trips to Indiana. According to Think Progress, Indiana’s RFRA law differs substantially from any other state’s because it is applicable to disputes between private citizens, rather than between a person and a government. This means that a business could discriminate against an individual who might otherwise be protected under the law.

“This is not about discrimination, this is about empowering people to confront government overreach,’’ Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.’’

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