Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D) on Tuesday banned city employees from using public funds for non-essential travel to Indiana, citing the state's controversial new religious freedom law.
"Denver is an inclusive city, and we take tremendous pride in that," Hancock said in a statement. "Due to the actions taken by the State of Indiana, we will join with other cities across the nation in suspending the use of city funds for official business to Indiana. This law is just wrong, plain and simple, and we will not tacitly condone discrimination through the use of taxpayer dollars."
Hancock joins the mayors of Portland, Oregon, San Francisco and Seattle in banning official travel to Indiana. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) issued a similar ban on Tuesday. On Monday, Connecticut became the first state to block official travel to Indiana over the new law.
Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence (R) last week, allows businesses or individuals to cite religious beliefs as a legal defense when sued for discrimination by a private party. Opponents contend the law allows businesses to openly discriminate if they don't want to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people.
Pence has steadfastly defended the law, repeatedly comparing it with an existing federal statute. Critics, however, point out that the Indiana law allows businesses to claim religious views and to invoke those views against individuals. The federal law addresses disputes between individuals and the government.
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