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Governor, mayor issue Indiana travel bans

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren issued travel bans to the Indiana after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law.

The law prevents the government from infringing on people’s religious beliefs, but critics say it also allows them to discriminate against other people on the basis of religion, particularly against those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

Cuomo on Tuesday directed all state all agencies, departments, boards and commissions to immediately review all requests for state-funded or state-sponsored travel to Indiana and bar any such publicly funded travel that is not essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety. The ban went into immediate effect.

“New York state has been, and will continue to be, a leader in ensuring that all LGBT persons enjoy full and equal civil rights. With this action, we stand by our LGBT family members, friends and colleagues to ensure that their rights are respected.”

Warren similarly banned city-funded travel for city employees to any state that has enacted religious freedom laws that do not specifically prohibit discrimination against citizens.

“Rochester, New York has long been the ‘Hometown of Equality’ in America,” Warren said. “As the home of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, Rochester has been a stalwart for freedom and a beacon of progress for those seeking justice and equality. I cannot support the use of our residents’ tax dollars to fund travel to states who adopt policies that fly directly in the face of what our community has always stood for.”

City Council President Loretta Scott supports the mayor’s order and will enact a similar ban for council staff.