After law tweak, Dayton, Minneapolis city council drop calls for Indiana travel ban


Minneapolis will not ban city-funded travel to Indiana as a response to the state's religious freedom law.

The Minneapolis City Council opted to nix the proposed ban, MPR reports, just a day after Indiana's governor signed a bill changing the divisive law.

In addition, Gov. Mark Dayton issued a statement Friday afternoon saying, while the law tweaks don't protect LGBT citizens as well as Minnesota law, their "corrective actions" means he does "not believe a travel ban to Indiana is necessary at this time.”

What changed with the law?

The law itself – the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – quickly made Indiana the epicenter of the debate over gay rights.

Proponents said the law would protect people who are concerned about being forced to violate their religious commitments. But critics argued Indiana’s law would make it legal to discriminate against people who are gay.

The much-publicized reaction from other states, cities, sports teams and businesses led to Gov. Mike Pence signing what's been called a "fix," CNN says. It makes it so businesses can't use that initial religious freedom law as a legal defense for denying services or goods to customers based on a number of factors, including sexual orientation, according to CNN.

“It largely corrects the concerns and objections that have been raised nationally," Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said Friday, according to the Star Tribune.

Mounting political pressure

That change was enough to placate the city council, after momentum for a city-funded travel ban had been building up for days.

Gov. Mark Dayton said earlier this week he'd consider a ban on state-funded travel to Indiana, the Pioneer Press reported. But as reported above, he now has a different opinion.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said this week they don’t believe the law is OK – even if it’s clarified.

Hodges had asked the Minneapolis City Council to pass a policy prohibiting using city funds for official business travel to the state of Indiana. In addition, she asked the fire department to cancel its plans to attend a conference in Indiana in late April; the fire chief obliged.

However, the council did pass an amended resolution, calling for Indiana (and 27 other states) to offer legal protections for LGBT Americans "as quickly as possible," MPR reports.

More city council decisions

The Minneapolis City Council approved a few other notable things Friday morning.

  • The new single-sailboat logo, which was initially approved then voted down, was officially given the green light, the Star Tribune says.
  • An updated, $129 million budget for Target Center renovations, WCCO reports.
  • And a pay-via-smartphone parking meter app was approved, with a trial set to start in May, FOX 9 reports.

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