A letter urging Gov. Larry Hogan to ban state funded travel to Indiana wasn’t warmly received.
Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., D-Montgomery County and an openly gay member of the state legislature, sent a letter to the governor calling for the ban. A spokesman for Hogan said the governor stopped reading it three sentences in—a sentence that references Hogan’s wife Yumi and her first marriage that ended in divorce.
NEW, with audio: Madaleno responds to Hogan criticism of letter
“I fear it could lead to a public humiliation of many of us when visiting Indiana,” Madaleno wrote. “Your family, an exemplary ambassador for the state of Maryland, could be denied service due to a random business person, waiter, or clerk’s objection to the First Lady’s previous divorce. My family could be denied service because of my marriage to another man. 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.”
Douglass Mayer, a Hogan spokesman, indicated that the governor was bothered by the personal reference.
“The governor stopped reading when he got to the line about his wife,” Mayer said but declined to elaborate. “I don’t think I need to characterize (the letter) for the readers.”
— Rich Madaleno (@RichMadaleno) March 31, 2015
Madaleno, a Montgomery County Democrat and an openly gay member of the legislator, joined a growing chorus of public officials, celebrities and business leaders calling for bans on travel or doing business in Indiana until the state repeals the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
It’s not clear how much travel to Indiana has been scheduled for Maryland government employees in the coming year. Mayer said it would be difficult to immediately determine that but acknowledged that Indiana is not likely a top destination.
“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. “Political stunts like this are precisely what Maryland voters rejected in last year’s election.”