Florida Keys

Key West commission resolution: Indiana should be shunned

NTHONY CAVE

Key West City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley has never been to Indiana. It may stay that way.

Weekley sponsored a resolution on Tuesday's commission meeting agenda that would ban city-funded travel to the Hoosier State or any state that passes any sort of religious freedom law that has "a discriminatory effect on equal rights."

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed that state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act on March 26, which essentially allows businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community if they cite their religious beliefs as justification for denying lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people their services.

Thursday, following a national backlash, he signed an amended law giving legal protection to the LGBT community.

Before Indiana amended the law, Weekley said, "I don't think we should be supporting a state that feels that way about the residents of this country."

The initial law caused national uproar. States and cities throughout the U.S. forbid official government travel to Indiana because of it, and several large corporations said they would scale back their business in Indiana.

Key West Business Guild Executive Director Matt Hon has similar sentiments about Indiana's law.

"Indiana is my birth state and I have many family and friends in the state. It saddens me that they have to be faced with such a discriminatory law," he said.

Florida passed its own Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1998, but the key difference is private business disputes, which were protected under Indiana's initial law. Florida's law doesn't allow such protections.

As far as Monroe County is concerned, Commissioner Sylvia Murphy said she doesn't agree with what Indiana is doing but said the county has no plans to restrict county-funded travel to Indiana.

"I seriously doubt that because we don't travel to Indiana period," Murphy said.

Weekley is pretty adamant about the Southernmost City sending a message to Indiana even though it, too, doesn't send employees to Indiana on city business.

"We shouldn't send anybody from the city, even if there is a U.S. Conference of Mayors [meeting in Indiana]. I don't think the mayor should go," Weekley said. "I'm urging my friends not to go also."

Also on Tuesday's agenda:

▪ The commission will consider naming the Truman Waterfront recreational field the Matthew L. Gilleran Recreation Field. Gilleran, 14, a student at Key West High School, died Jan. 13, 2013.

▪ Commissioners will consider approving a $130,000 workers compensation settlement with Craig Allen. Allen, 66, a former city maintenance worker, was working with a city crew at the Key West Bight in January 2012 when he felt pain in his right shoulder after lifting a post. He underwent surgery.

The City Commission meets at Old City Hall on Greene Street at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

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