Washington

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee bans most state-funded travel to Mississippi

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks Jan. 7, 2016 during the annual Associated Press Legislative Preview in Olympia, Washington.
Gov. Jay Inslee speaks Jan. 7, 2016 during the annual Associated Press Legislative Preview in Olympia, Washington. sbloom@theolympian.com

Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday banned most state-funded travel to Mississippi, objecting to the Southern state’s new law that allows business owners and government employees to refuse service to gay people.

The move came a week after Inslee issued a similar travel ban to North Carolina, which recently enacted a law that strikes down locally enacted protections for gay, lesbian and transgender individuals.

The Mississippi law, which Gov. Phil Bryant signed Tuesday, lets government officials refuse to issue marriage licenses or perform marriage ceremonies if doing so would violate their religious beliefs.

It also allows businesses and faith-based institutions to deny services to gay, lesbian and transgender individuals on religious grounds.

In a memo Tuesday evening, Inslee said Mississippi’s new law “perpetuates an unfair and injurious prejudice against the LGBTQ community.”

“It is the law of Washington State and the policy of my administration to demand equality for all persons,” Inslee wrote.

The travel ban applies to non-essential travel by employees of cabinet-level agencies that Inslee oversees, such as the state departments of Transportation and Corrections.

The governors of Vermont and New York also announced bans on state-funded travel to Mississippi on Tuesday.

Melissa Santos: 360-357-0209, @melissasantos1

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