Cuomo Bans Non-Essential State Travel to Indiana Over Religious Freedom Law - NBC New York

Cuomo Bans Non-Essential State Travel to Indiana Over Religious Freedom Law

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    Gov. Cuomo has banned all non-essential, state-funded travel to Indiana in response to that state's religious freedom law, which critics say opens the door to discrimination against gay and lesbian people.  

    The ban applies to all state agencies and public colleges and universities — meaning students and faculty would not be able to participate in athletic or academic events in Indiana. Exceptions would be made for travel deemed "essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety."

    "With this action, we stand by our LBGT family members, friends and colleagues to ensure that their rights are respected," Cuomo said in announcing the travel restrictions.

    Mayor de Blasio issued a similar ban on city-sponsored travel to Indiana on Tuesday. Essential travel including trips by law enforcement would still be allowed.

    Similar bans were enacted Monday by the governors of Washington and Connecticut.

    Lawmakers in New York had called on Cuomo to issue the travel ban. Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat who is the only openly gay member of the state Senate, said the law "is an assault on basic civil rights."

    New York State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox dismissed Cuomo's move and noted that the Democratic governor plans a visit next month to Cuba, a country where he said "political dissidents are imprisoned and tortured."

    "Now that Andrew Cuomo has banned travel to Indiana, he can cancel his upcoming trip to Cuba," Cox said in a statement. "Or he can admit that both moves are political stunts meant to bolster his national profile with no grounding in reality or substance."

    Supporters of the Indiana law say it's intended to protect religious liberty. On Tuesday Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said his state has a "perception problem" and said he wants legislation to "clarify" the law.

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