- The Washington Times - Monday, March 30, 2015

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray plans to sign a executive order this week banning all city-funded travel to Indiana in protest against the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The mayor’s decision comes after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a measure that allows businesses to refuse service to gays for religious reasons.

Seattle has been a leader in the fight to protect civil rights and ensure equality for all people — no matter who you are, or who you love,” Mr. Murray said in a statement Saturday, ABC News reported.

“This is why I am ordering that none of our taxpayer dollars should go toward supporting this discriminatory law,” the Democrat said.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee made a similar move Saturday, announcing that he is banning city employees from traveling to Indiana on the taxpayers’ dime.

“Effective immediately, I am directing city departments under my authority to bar any publicly funded city employee travel to the state of Indiana that is not absolutely essential to public health and safety,” Mr. Lee said, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Businesses such as Angie’s List are canceling plans for expansion in Indiana and celebrities Ashton Kutcher and George Takei have expressed firm opposition to the law that they say opens the door for legal discrimination.

Mr. Pence has argued that the bill “is not about discrimination,” but he has agreed to support legislation to clarify the law.

“I support religious liberty, and I support this law,” he told the Indianapolis Star. “But we are in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend to see if there’s a way to clarify the intent of the law.”

Mr. Murray, who is openly gay, said his decision in Seattle isn’t personal — he’d react the same way if he believed women or racial minorities were being discriminated against.

“I’m not doing this because I’m a gay man,” he said, a local NBC affiliate reported. “You cannot say, ‘You can’t come into my restaurant because you’re black and it’s my religious belief not to serve you.’ That is a settled question.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is scheduled to be held in Indiana next year, but Mr. Murray said he plans to request a change of venue if the law is still in place, the station reported.

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