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Gov. Malloy issues executive order banning state-funded travel to Indiana

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HARTFORD – Gov. Dan Malloy has signed an executive order banning state-sponsored and state-funded travel to Indiana due to new legislation signed into law there last week that could potentially be used to discriminate against gay people.

“The idea that somebody from CT who complies with the law here can go to another state and be discriminated against is abhorrent, cannot be tolerated, and quite frankly, we can’t witness it without raising our voice,” said Governor Malloy.

You can read the executive order here.

However, Malloy didn’t share that sentiment. “When you see a wrong being perpetrated on your constituents, then it’s time to stick up.”

The Indiana law, called the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” was signed by Gov. Mike Pence last Thursday. The law prohibits state and local governments from impeding a person or business’ ability to exercise their religious beliefs. Opponents of the law argue it could be abused discriminate against members of the LGBT community.

Connecticut has a  law on the books protecting the state from imposing an undue burden on a person's exercise of religion. In addition, the Connecticut has a number of laws protecting individuals from discrimination based on a variety of characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

Indiana state law does not include sexual orientation in its non discrimination statutes.

"We have a law that respects religious freedom and then we have many laws that very firmly spell out that religious freedom does not allow you to discriminate against people in your restaurant, in your business, in any way.  So I think Connecticut has it right," Malloy said.

"I'm so grateful for [the governor], not as a state senator but as a resident of Connecticut. I do not want my dollars going somewhere where discrimination has just been legalized, basically," said state Sen. Beth Bye (D-West Hartford).

The mayors of San Francisco and Seattle have also issued statements announcing bans on the spending of public funds for employees to travel to Indiana. San Francisco makes an exception for travel "essential to the public health and safety."

Seattle will also inspect city contracts to see if any are with businesses located in Indiana.

Warde Manuel, UConn's athletic director, said he hopes either Indiana changes its law or that the NCAA moves the Final Four out of Indianapolis before next year's NCAA Tournament. If nothing has changed, Manuel says the school would consider boycotting the event. UConn's women's basketball team has won the past two NCAA Tournaments and will play on Monday night for a chance to go to another Final Four.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says concerns that his state's new "religious freedom" law will allow businesses to turn away LGBT customers is the result of a "tremendous amount of misinformation and misunderstanding."

Pence's decision last week to sign into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that allows Indiana businesses to cite their religious freedom as a legal defense has triggered an intense backlash against his state.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest blasted Pence during a segment on ABC's "This Week," saying that the Indiana Republican "is in damage control mode this morning, and he's got damage to fix."

"It should be easy for leaders in this country to stand up and say that it is wrong to discriminate against people just because of who they love," Earnest said.

Tech companies have also taken aim at Indiana. Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted that "Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law."

The mayor of Indiana's capital Indianapolis condemned the new law as well.

"I had hoped the statehouse wouldn't move in this direction on RFRA, but it seems as if the bill was a fait accompli from the beginning," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "We are a diverse city, and I want everyone who visits and lives in Indy to feel comfortable here. RFRA sends the wrong signal."

The NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis and is set to host the men's basketball Final Four in the city this week, said the law could lead it to move events elsewhere in future years. The NBA, WNBA and NFL also issued critical statements, and groups like the gamer convention GenCon and the Disciples of Christ, which holds a meeting in Indianapolis each year, have said they could move their events, too.

Information from CNN was included in this story.

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