West Hollywood City Council Prepares Resolution to Denounce Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’

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Proposed Resolution Would Ban City Employees from Traveling to Indiana on City Business and Develop Additional Financial Sanctions

City of West Hollywood

City of West Hollywood

The West Hollywood City Council will consider a Resolution to denounce Indiana’s discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It would impose a ban on official travel and develop additional financial sanctions.

The City Council of the City of West Hollywood, at its next regular meeting on Monday, April 6, 2015, will consider a Resolution to denounce Indiana’s discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The proposed Resolution would impose a ban on official travel to Indiana by City employees.

Last week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law Senate Enrolled Act 101, which is scheduled to take effect on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. The new Indiana state law provides any person or business sued for discrimination with an opportunity to invoke religious freedom as a defense; in doing so, the law will pave a legal pathway for business owners to refuse services to a class of people.

The proposed City of West Hollywood Resolution states: “The City Council of the City of West Hollywood hereby denounces Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and calls upon the City Manager to immediately suspend official travel to the State of Indiana, or any State adopting similar legislation, and develop additional financial sanctions until such time as the new law is revoked, and that any such official travel ban or other sanction will automatically renew itself for a one-year period until otherwise revoked by the City Council of the City of West Hollywood.”

This week, overwhelmed with denouncements from across the nation, the Indiana Governor said he would consider a “fix” to the law. This has led to an effort in the Indiana General Assembly to “clarify” the law. Many Indiana Democrats, and some Republicans, contend that the law should be repealed altogether.

According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), there are currently more than 85 anti-LGBT bills that have been filed in 28 state legislatures in 2015 sessions. The City of West Hollywood stands with cities such as Seattle and San Francisco, as well as vocal business critics — such as Alcoa, Angie’s List, Anthem, Apple, Cummins, Eli Lilly, and Subaru — to speak out against Indiana’s law. The Resolution under consideration by the West Hollywood City Council would authorize the City Manager to extend the official travel ban to other states that adopt substantively similar legislation.

The City of West Hollywood is proud to be an outspoken advocate for the legal rights of LGBT people. In 1984, the year in which West Hollywood was incorporated, it became the first city in the nation to have a majority openly gay governing body. Following that, the City passed a landmark Ordinance prohibiting discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation. In 1985, the City of West Hollywood was one of the first cities in the country to adopt a Domestic Partnership Ordinance and it was one of the first cities in the country to pass a resolution in support of marriage equality, paving the way for same-sex marriage initiatives all over the country. Today, many of the City’s landmark ordinances have been duplicated and have become mainstream policies nationally and globally.

For more information, please contact Scott Olin Schmidt, Deputy to Councilmember Lauren Meister, at (323) 848-6460. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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Joshua Schare

Lisa Marie Belsanti
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