Maryland State Senator Pushing for Ban on State-Funded Travel to - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland State Senator Pushing for Ban on State-Funded Travel to Indiana

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland state senator urged Gov. Larry Hogan in a letter to enact a ban on state-funded travel to Indiana because of a new law that critics fear could discriminate against gays and lesbians, but the governor's spokesman called the letter a political stunt.

Sen. Richard Madaleno, who is openly gay and married to a man, wrote that the Republican governor's family could be denied service in Indiana due to a random waiter's objection to his wife's previous divorce. Madaleno wrote that his own family could be denied service. He's urging the travel ban to protect Maryland residents from public humiliation.

"Many of our colleagues could also be denied service because of an Indiana business owner's objection to a Marylander's marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, appearance, or a myriad of other excuses," Madaleno, a Montgomery County Democrat, wrote in the letter, dated Tuesday.

Madaleno also noted that Maryland has been a leader in providing legal recognition and protections to all Maryland residents. Lawmakers approved a measure legalizing same-sex marriage in 2012, and voters approved it in a ballot question that year.

Doug Mayer, Hogan's spokesman, said the governor stopped reading Madaleno's letter when he got to the mention of his wife, Yumi.

"Governor Hogan is opposed to discrimination in all forms and history has repeatedly proven that the best way to effect positive change is through an engagement of ideas, not disengaging from those we disagree with," Mayer said in a statement. "Political stunts like this are precisely what Maryland voters rejected in last year's election."

The governors of New York, Vermont, Washington and Connecticut have announced bans on certain state-funded travel to Indiana because of the law, as did the mayors of Denver, Seattle and Washington, D.C., for city-funded travel.

Former Gov. Martin O'Malley, a likely Democratic presidential candidate, said in New Hampshire on Tuesday that it was "shameful" for Republicans to support the Indiana law.

Madaleno's mention of the governor's wife also brought a response from Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller during session on Wednesday.

"We had a letter going out the other day that mentioned someone's spouse, and we're not going to get into details, but we're all big here, men and women, and we're partners in this, but we don't mention other peoples' spouses in any type of correspondence, their spouses or children," Miller, D-Calvert, said.

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