SF supes move to condemn anti-gay Indiana law

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Gay San Francisco Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos

Tuesday introduced a resolution condemning the anti-gay law recently

signed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

The two gay lawmakers are the latest city voices speaking out against

the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Pence signed in a closed

ceremony March 26. The law, which goes into effect in July, allows

anyone in the Hoosier State to use their religious beliefs to claim that

they have a right to refuse to follow anti-discrimination protections and

other laws.

The law, known as Senate Bill 101, is primarily focused on allowing

businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians. It is a reaction to the

advancement of marriage rights for same-sex couples and court rulings

that have determined bakeries and wedding service providers can’t

discriminate against LGBT customers.

Since Pence, a Republican, signed the RFRA he has been faced with a

huge backlash from LGBT people and their supporters around the U.S.

This week, following a massive protest against the law last weekend,

Pence said he would seek to “clarify” the law.

In a March 31 news release, Wiener and Campos said their resolution,

which the Board of Supervisors will vote on next week, condemns the

law and calls on city departments and private businesses to end business

relations with Indiana.

The day Pence signed the law, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee directed all

city departments to ban any publicly-funded city employee travel to the

Hoosier State. Wiener and Campos’ resolution calls on city departments

to refrain from entering into any new or amended contracts with

companies headquartered in Indiana, and to review existing contracts to

explore opportunities to discontinue those contracts.

“This law is an attack against the LGBT community and basic human

rights and has no place in our country,” Wiener said in a statement.

This week Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf also said that she was directing

the city administrator not to approve the use of city dollars for business

travel to Indiana. She said she would ask the City Council to pass a similar resolution.

San Francisco State University will bar school-funded travel to the state.

“I am informing the campus community that no San Francisco State University funds from any source – general funds or auxiliary – will be used to support employee or student travel to Indiana,” SFSU President Leslie E. Wong said in a statement Monday, March 30.

She also announced that she will not attend a required meeting of the NCAA Division II President’s Council, to be held in April

in Indianapolis.

Indiana is not the only state that adopted a religious freedom law. Nineteen other states have implemented similar laws, according

to the American Civil Liberties Union. Indiana’s doesn’t specifically mention LGBT people but it gives the right for people to

discriminate against LGBT people using their religion as an excuse since there are no laws in Indiana to protect LGBT people

from discrimination.

Last Sunday Pence appeared on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos and was asked if he would support or issue a law

to protect LGBT people from discrimination. Pence said, “I will not push for that. It’s not on any agenda. It’s not been an

objective of the people of the state of Indiana.”

One of the supporters of the bill, Eric Miller from Advance America, an anti-LGBT lobbying group, wrote on

advanceamerica.com, “SB 101 will help protect individuals. Christian businesses, Christian bakers, florists, and photographers

should not be punished for refusing to participate in a homosexual marriage!”

Swift opposition

Opposition from companies across the country was swift.

The day Pence signed the bill, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, a San Francisco-based company, tweeted, “Today we are

canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination.”

Bill Oesterle, CEO of Angie’s List, said March 28 that the company has pulled its proposed campus expansion project on

Indianapolis’ near east side from City-County Council consideration as a result of the passage of the RFRA.

“Angie’s List is open to all and discriminates against none and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents,” Oesterle

said in a statement. The company, which is based in Indiana, was expected to break ground on the project within days.

Among the CEOs who used Twitter to condemn the new law was gay Apple CEO Tim Cook, who also called on Hutchinson to

veto his state’s bill.

“Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana’s new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar

#HB1228,” Cook tweeted March 27.

Leaders in other cities and states have curtailed publicly-funded travel to Indiana.

Gay Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed an executive order Tuesday banning city employee-funded travel to Indiana.

“Laws that say you can discriminate have no place in this country,” he told reporters Saturday.

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy will sign a similar executive order barring state-funded travel to Indiana.

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