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California Bill Would Ban Government Travel to States Deemed Anti-Gay

Demonstrators gather to protest a controversial religious freedom bill in IndianapolisDemonstrators gather to protest a controversial religious freedom bill in Indianapolis
Demonstrators in Indianapolis protest a controversial religious freedom bill in April 2015. Photograph by Nathan Chute — Reuters

A California lawmaker has introduced a bill that would ban government-funded travel to states with laws that he says discriminate on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

“No one wants to send employees into an environment where they would be uncomfortable,” said Democrat Evan Low, Jon Ortiz, a reporter for the Sacramento Bee, reported this week.

Low said he decided to introduce the bill after Indiana signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law in March 2015. Touted as a law that protects religious liberty, critics say it gives businesses or employers legal grounds to treat people differently based on a religious opposition to homosexuality. The National Conference of State Legislatures found that a total of 21 states have enacted similar religious freedom laws since 1993.

Indiana’s law prompted companies and public figures to declare a boycott on the state, and some governors and mayors said they would sign executive orders banning state-funded travel to Indiana.

Low said he doesn’t know which states his bill would apply to yet. He said it would not cover lawmakers and political trips but would affect administrative travel.

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