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San Francisco, Oakland Lift Travel Bans To Indiana Over Religious Freedom Bill

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - The mayors of San Francisco and Oakland ended restrictions on city-funded travel to Indiana Tuesday in response to an amendment passed last week to the state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the law in March, setting off a nationwide furor of critics saying that the law, which ostensibly protected religious freedoms, would allow business owners to refuse to provide services for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Pence said that kind of discrimination was not the intention of the law and signed a clarifying amendment late last week prohibiting service providers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

"While not perfect, the changes made to Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act represent a step in the right direction," San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf joined Lee in lifting her ban on city-funded travel to Indiana, which she imposed on March 31.

"While there is much more to be done nationally and at the state and local levels to provide equal protection under the law for all, I am encouraged by Indiana's decision to clarify its law so that it cannot be used to deny members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community access to services," Schaaf said in a statement.

Berkeley imposed a similar ban last week and has so far not announced any change to the policy.

© Copyright 2015 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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