Mayor Ed Murray today signed an Executive Order banning official City of Seattle travel by employees to Indiana in response to passage of SB 101.
“Enough is enough,” Mayor Ed Murray said. “Legalized discrimination should not be tolerated. No one should be denied access to critical services simply because of who they are or who they love. My action today sends a strong signal Seattle does not support Indiana’s discriminatory law, rather we stand with those in Indiana fighting for equality.”
“This is a settled issue. We are long passed the day when it is acceptable to discriminate against someone because of the color of their skin, their gender, or who they love. We cannot allow bills like SB 101 to take us back to the 1950s when businesses could deny services to people because of who they are.”
SB 101 could be used by businesses to deny service to LGBT people and others.
On Saturday, Mayor Murray announced the travel ban for City of Seattle employees on official business. The Mayor of San Francisco is also restricting travel for City employees and the Governor of Connecticut announced a similar ban for State employees. On Monday, Governor Inslee announced a travel ban for Washington State employees to Indiana. Governor Cuomo of New York also issued a travel ban for non-essential travel to Indiana.
President Obama also came out strongly against the bill.
Major corporations like Apple and Angie’s List have decried SB 101. The NCAA and NASCAR spoke out against the measure.
Following the public outcry, Montana’s Republican controlled legislature voted down a similar bill. Georgia’s bill may have stalled. Indianapolis’s Republican Mayor is publicly urging the Indiana State legislature to pass a bill prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people and signed an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people.
An Executive Order prohibiting the use of City funds for travel by all City employees on City business to the State of Indiana after passage of S.B. 101 until further notice and reaffirming this Administration’s continued commitment to civil rights and ensuring equity for all people in Seattle and beyond and the establishment of an action plan that supports these efforts.
WHEREAS, the Indiana State Legislature passed and Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law SB 101, known as the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”; and
WHEREAS, Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act provides individuals and any type of business, whether for-profit or non-profit, irrespective of its purpose, the right, based on a religious belief, to discriminate against a person because of his or her sexual orientation or any other protected category; and
WHEREAS, Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is inconsistent with the work and values of my Administration to promote equity, to end discrimination, to eliminate institutional racism and to advance social justice for the people of Seattle; and
WHEREAS, Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act expressly provides that Indiana’s law does not provide a person a right to access the civil justice system if he or she is subjected to a discriminatory act as a result of its enactment;
WHEREAS, in his April 16, 1963, letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote, an “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere;” the City of Seattle will not stand by idly while discriminatory laws like Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act are enacted because such laws stand to threaten the equity victories in Seattle and elsewhere; and
WHEREAS, the City of Seattle will stand with those who are fighting for equity in Indiana and elsewhere across the county; and
WHEREAS, the use of discretionary public taxpayer dollars should, to the extent possible, reflect the values of the people of our City and should not be used to support the economies of businesses and governments that support and enact discriminatory laws and policies; and
WHEREAS, it is within my authority as the Chief Executive of the City of Seattle to manage, direct and restrict the expenditure of funds appropriated annually through the adopted budget by the Seattle City Council;
Now therefore, I, Edward B. Murray, Mayor of Seattle, hereby affirm the City’s commitment to civil rights and ensuring equity for all people in Seattle and beyond and order the following actions to establish a plan and strategies that support this commitment to equity:
- All Executive department and office employees are hereby prohibited from using City funds for travel on City business to the State of Indiana in light of the passage of S.B. 101 until further notice.
- All Executive departments and offices are hereby directed to review and identify existing contracts with any businesses with headquarters in the State of Indiana within 15 days of this Executive Order and report such findings to Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas.
- The Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Relations (OIR), Nick Harper, is directed to develop and advance a strategy to voice the City’s strong objections to Indiana S.B. 101 in cooperation with other jurisdictions, the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to identify other cities that share our values on equity and ending discrimination for all.