Gov. Baker doesn’t support Indiana law; won’t propose travel ban

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday, March 28, 2015, for a rally against legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Mike Pence that opponents say could sanction discrimination against gay people. The law's supporters contend the discrimination claims are overblown and insist it will keep the government from compelling people to provide services they find objectionable on religious grounds. (AP Photo/Rick Callahan)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Indiana Lawmakers are scrambling to change a law that many say allows discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The law in Indiana is so unpopular that some states, including Connecticut, have imposed a ban on Government funded travel to the state.

“I think it’s bogus.” “I’m not a fan,” said two Massachusetts residents. It’s resident reaction to Indiana’s controversial new religious freedom law.

“I think it’s a very thinly veiled disguise. Disguised discrimination and support for discrimination in the workplace. To describe it as a protection for religious freedom is completely missing the point,” said Rebcca Hartka of Ashfield.

The law has sparked protests across the country. Critics say the law uses religion as an excuse to discriminate.

“I think it’s proporting to be giving people more freedoms when in actually it’s designed to take freedoms away from people,” said Chris from Northampton.

The law itself bans a government from infringing on someone’s religious beliefs without a compelling reason. There’s concerns the language offers a legal defense to businesses that refuse to serve gays.

The list of states banning government funded travel to Indiana continues to grow. It includes Washington state, New York, Vermont and Connecticut. We asked Massachusetts residents, if our state should do the same?

“Yeah, I think creating sanctions and creating a situation where we don’t support the economy of a state that doesn’t support the rights of all of it’s citizens is a pretty good plan,” said Sean Donovan of Northampton.

But others told 22News a travel ban may have unintended consequences and ultimately hurt Indiana citizens themselves, even those who don’t support the law. They say grassroots activism is what’s needed.

Indiana has faced economic pressure to change their law from Wal-Mart, Amazon and consumer reporting agency, Angie’s List.

Gov. Charlie Baker’s press director sent 22News a statement saying the Governor disagrees with the Indiana law, and is proud that Massachusetts is a leader in equality, but won’t prosose a travel ban.

Here’s a statement from the Governor’s Communications Director, Tim Buckley: 

Governor Baker disagrees with the Indiana law and is proud that Massachusetts has been and will continue to be a leader on equality, but is not proposing any restrictions on the ability of the Commonwealth’s employees to do their important work.

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