Issues

Seattle Joins San Francisco in Banning City-Funded Trips to Indiana


It is not just figures in sports or from the corporate world who are speaking out against Indiana’s new religious tyranny law. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (D) said on Saturday something that really should not even have to be articulated: “Laws that say you can discriminate have no place in this country.”

Murray says that’s “Equality 101.”

Of course, the bigots who support this law will tell you that laws have already created certain “special classes” you cannot attack, i.e. minorities. Gosh, wonder why we have to have laws to protect them? So what the RFRA does, or so they claim, is level the playing field, so we can get back to attacking these minorities the way God intended.

That is the logic as explained to my family by somebody who believes it.

Well…about that.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Thursday placed a travel ban on city-funded trips to Indiana, saying, “San Francisco taxpayers will not subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by the State of Indiana.”

And now Seattle’s Ed Murray has joined him, reports Seattle’s KOMO News:

“I’m not doing this because I’m a gay man. You cannot say, ‘You can’t come into my restaurant because you’re black and it’s my religious belief not to serve you.’ That is a settled question.”

Watch courtesy of KOMO News:

Indiana’s S.B. 101 doesn’t reflect the values of our City. Seattle has been a leader in the fight to protect civil rights and ensure equality for all people – no matter who you are, or who you love,” Murray said. “This is why I am ordering that none of our taxpayer dollars should go toward supporting this discriminatory law. To those in Indiana today who are working hard in the fight for equality – know that Seattle stands with you as you continue your efforts to end discrimination and protect civil rights for everyone.

He even tweeted the message to be sure that Internet-savvy Republicans get the message:

Mike Pence and his fellow bigots seem to have missed this lesson in school. The struggle for and the importance of the sacrifices of the civil rights era seem to have gone completely over their heads.

There is an apparently bewildered Pence claiming all the uproar about his state’s embrace of religious tyranny is an Internet conspiracy. This, after he has his photo taken with three prominent anti-gay bigots at the new law’s private signing ceremony.

Maybe he just doesn’t understand how cameras work. Or reading. Maybe he’s an idiot or just thinks everyone else is an idiot. All of the above? It’s hard to say. What is clear is that Pence and his fellow bigots have misjudged the temperament of this country.

It is almost as though he expected nobody to care that religion was being used as a justification for bad behavior. While his state is being devastated by a tidal wave of denunciations from around the country, he is steadfastly insisting on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday that he won’t change the law.

He seems so flabbergasted that he can’t even answer simple questions about the legislation he believed in so strongly that he could not wait to sign it. He said on “This Week” that opposition to the law is “shameless rhetoric” – as opposed to the shameless bigotry of the law itself.

And talk about timing. The U.S. Conference of Mayors is supposed to be held in Indianapolis next year. We’ll see if that happens. It the conference gets moved, that will be more dollars lost. And dollars always speak louder to Republicans than words.

Meanwhile, in what is surely not a good sign for the Pence gang, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has joined local businesses in denouncing the law, saying, “We’re here today to say that’s not us. And that’s not South Bend.”

And worse yet, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, who is himself a Republican, has said that RFRA “sends the wrong signal” about his city.

In a statement, he made his feelings known:

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. I don’t believe this legislation truly represents our state or our capital city. Indianapolis strives to be a welcoming place that attracts businesses, conventions, visitors and residents. We are a diverse city, and I want everyone who visits and lives in Indy to feel comfortable here. RFRA sends the wrong signal.

Which begs the question: if people all around him get it, why doesn’t Governor Pence?

That’s the trouble with ideology. It takes no cognizance of facts. But the facts are there for all to see, and in Indiana, thanks to Mike Pence and his coterie of bigots, many will be paying for the bigotry of a few.

Photo: Screen-capture from KOMO News.

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen's Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.

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