San Francisco mayor, Ed Lee, is banning all taxpayer funded trips to Indiana, after the governor of the state signed into law the Religious Freedom Bill, which allows for the discrimination of LGBT people. The Republican governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, signed the bill into law on Thursday, and since then the backlash has continued to grow. Companies such as Salesforce and Yelp have both made their positions clear on the matter.
Salesforce, a tech company based out of San Francisco, has issued a statement via Twitter that the company would be reducing their investments within the state of Indiana. The company also cancelled any programs that required their employees to have to travel to the state. The CEO of Yelp, Jeremy Stoppelman, also issued his own statement regarding the law. In an open letter that was aimed not only at Indiana, but at all of the states that have signed into law the Religious Freedom Bill, Stoppelman says that the law sets a dangerous precedent and will eventually damage the economy of those states. Stoppelman also indicated, that his company will no longer be expanding the business’ operations within the state, now that the law has been passed.
Lee, the San Francisco mayor banning taxpayer funded trips to the state of Indiana, said that the taxpayers would not subsidize what amounts to the legalization of discrimination against transgender, bisexual, gay and lesbian individuals. Lee went on to say that San Franciscans stand united in order to condemn this act, that is basically a discriminatory law. The only exception to this ban is in the event that the trip is in the interest of essential public safety or health. Barring that one exception, all publicly funded travel is no longer sanctioned from San Francisco to Indiana.
Pence has spoken out in support of the bill, indicating that the law is not about discrimination. Instead, he says this a bill that is enacted to support people’s right to religious freedoms. Pence is blaming the media, and their coverage of the bill, for giving people the idea that this is a law that allows for discrimination. He even said that based on what the media has said, he would be concerned by the law. Critics of the bill, however, point out that this law allows for business owners to turn away not only LGBT citizens, but anyone that the owner disagrees with, all in the name of religion.
San Francisco mayor, Lee, is not the only person in a position of power to ban trips to Indiana following the signing of the Religious Freedoms Bill. He is, however, the first politician to make such a step or declaration. Although San Francisco is known for being a tolerant area, the one thing they will not tolerate is discrimination. As the backlash over the signing of the bill continues to grow in Indiana, one might wonder what will happen with the other 20 states that have the same laws in place. It remains to be seen if the same bans will occur in those states, or if they will repeal the laws that are causing such a furor.
By Kimberley Spinney
Photo by Steve Rhodes – Flickr License