Gov. Peter Shumlin banned all “non-essential state funded or state sponsored travel to Indiana” on Tuesday, following other states and private groups that have cancelled events or travel to Indiana over the passage of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The new Indiana law has drawn widespread criticism from advocates for equal rights, who say it creates a legal basis for businesses to deny service on the basis of sexual orientation.
This is the text of the memo Secretary of Administration Justin Johnson sent to agency and department heads Tuesday afternoon:
Dear Secretaries and Commissioners,
The Governor is directing that all agencies and departments ban any non-essential state funded or state sponsored travel to Indiana. This ban is effective immediately until further notice.
According to Shumlin spokesperson Scott Coriell, "non-essential" travel is anything unrelated to public health and safety. Coriell said he is not aware of any current plans for essential state travel to Indiana.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a similar ban Tuesday, even as Indiana Gov. Mike Pence sought changes to the law that make it explicitly clear that businesses cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation.
Shumlin also reached out to a the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees after the union announce that it will not hold a conference in Indiana that was scheduled for later this year.
Shumlin sought to get the union to move the event to Vermont, claiming the state’s values are more in line with those of the union.