Mayor bans publicly-funded travel by SF employees to Indiana in wake of reputed anti-LGBT law 

San Francisco city employees are no longer allowed to travel on the taxpayer’s dollar to Indiana after Gov. Mike Pence signed a controversial freedom of religion bill Thursday that opponents say promotes discrimination.

Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement Thursday afternoon criticizing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits a government entity from “substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion.”

Lee said the bill legalizes discrimination against the LGBT community.

“We stand united as San Franciscans to condemn Indiana’s new discriminatory law, and will work together to protect the civil rights of all Americans including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals,” Lee said in the statement.

“Effective immediately, I am directing city departments under my authority to bar any publicly-funded city employee travel to the state of Indiana that is not absolutely essential to public health and safety,” he said. “San Francisco taxpayers will not subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by the state of Indiana.”

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, however, said the bill is not intended to promote bias.

“Today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said in a statement. “This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it.”

Lee’s statement comes after Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced via his Twitter page earlier Thursday that the San Francisco-based company is canceling all programs that require customers or employees to travel to Indiana.

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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