ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has lifted a ban on some state-funded travel to Indiana, saying he believes changes made to an Indiana religious-objections law will keep it from being used to discriminate against gay people.
The Democratic governor announced the travel change Saturday, four days after enacting it. It affected non-essential, state-paid trips.
Controversy recently arose over new measures in Indiana and Arkansas that barred state and local governments from impinging on people’s ability to follow their religious beliefs, with some limitations.
Supporters said law would protect religious liberties. But critics said they could be used to discriminate against gays.
The Republican governors of both states signed changed versions of the laws Thursday, hoping to quiet the outcry. The Indiana version specifies that it can’t be used to discriminate.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced he has also lifted a similar ban in Connecticut.
Malloy had previously called on the NCAA to consider moving next year’s Women’s Final Four out of Indianapolis unless changes are made to the law. The University of Connecticut is a regular participant in the event.
The law signed by Indiana Gov. Steve Pence last week prohibited 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.
On Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said his state has a “perception problem” and said he wants legislation to “clarify” the law. He, however, defended it as a vehicle to protect religious liberty.
“I don’t believe for a minute that it was the intent of the General Assembly to create a license to discriminate,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t my intent.”
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