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Malloy Bans State-Funded Travel To Indiana Over 'Religious Freedom' Law

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Monday banned state-funded travel to Indiana, because of the controversial new "religious freedom" law that critics say enables discrimination against the LGBT community.

"It harkens back to a time when states were allowed to pass laws that treated their citizens differently," Malloy said, adding someone has to stand up to this kind of bigotry. "And I'm prepared to do it."

The measure, signed last week by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, prohibits state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Pence defended the legislation during a television appearance Sunday but did not directly answer questions about whether it allowed discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Malloy Bans State-Funded Travel To Indiana Over 'Religious Freedom' Law

But over the weekend, more than 700 people gathered outside the Indiana State Capitol building in Indianapolis to protest the law. Critics said it could indeed be used as a legal shield for discrimination or refusal of service against gays and lesbians.

"I found it disturbing, disgraceful, and outright discriminatory," Malloy said. "We can't stand idly by in Connecticut while a class of citizens in our country is forced to face the laws that label them a second-class citizen."

When asked about University of Connecticut sports teams, Malloy said there's an exception for contractual obligations, but urged the NCAA to move next year's women's Final Four out of Indianapolis, WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported.

Some national gay rights groups say the law allows lawmakers in Indiana and several other states where similar bills have been proposed this year to sanction discrimination as the nation's highest court prepares to mull the gay marriage question, CBS News reported.

Supporters of the law insist it will keep the government from compelling people to provide services they find objectionable on religious grounds.

The issue has prompted reactions and repercussions nationwide, CBS News reported:

• Arkansas is poised to follow in Indiana's footsteps, as Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he'll sign a measure moving through the state's Legislature.

• Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook said that so-called "religious objection" legislation being introduced in a number of states is dangerous and bad for business.

• The presidents of DePauw, Indiana and Valparaiso universities have joined their counterpart at Butler in criticizing Indiana's religious objections law and saying it has damaged the state of Indiana, its institutions and its citizens.

• North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory isn't backing bills giving exemptions to court officials who decline to perform certain marriages and offering other religious protections to businesses.

• Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has issued a call to repeal the law.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked Indiana businesses to consider moving to Chicago in the wake of the legislation.

• Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, have also issued executive orders banning official city travel to Indiana.

• The Indianapolis-based NCAA has expressed concerns about the law and has suggested it could move future events elsewhere; the men's Final Four will be held in the city next weekend.

• Former NBA star and current basketball commentator Charles Barkley said big events shouldn't be held in any state with what he calls "anti-gay legislation."

• The band Wilco announced that it is canceling an Indianapolis tour date, tweeting that the religious freedom law "feels like thinly disguised legal discrimination."

Republican lawmakers in Indiana say they will make changes to the law to clarify that it does not promote discrimination. But Democrats said it should be repealed.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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