Council Candidate Sherrie Cohen Calls for Boycott of City-Sponsored Travel to Indiana

Following the state's passage of the anti-LGBT Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Sherrie Cohen | Photo via Cohen's Facebook

Sherrie Cohen | Photo via Cohen’s Facebook

The gay rights movement backtracked several years last week when, in Indiana, Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which effectively legalized discrimination against LGBT people. The action spurred several advocates to take a stand, including San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, who signed an executive order that stated: “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.”

Today Philadelphia City Council At-Large candidate Sherrie Cohen is following his lead, by asking Mayor Nutter to sign an executive order boycotting city-sponsored travel to Indiana. Her wishes were made clear in an email sent out this afternoon. You can read it below:

Mayor Michael Nutter,

I know you were horrified, as was the Philadelphia LGBT community to witness the recent developments in Indiana last week regarding SB101. With Gov. Mike Pence’s signature the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in effect legalizes discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. The following day San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee signed an executive order, “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.” Today I along with the LGBT community call for you and your administration to take the same bold stand against discrimination and hatred. Philadelphia taxpayers should not fund or inadvertently subsidize legal discrimination whether it is in our borders or beyond. As noted theologian Martin Niemöller wrote, “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the

Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Philadelphia should be on the right side of history; I urge you to sign this order without delay.

Sherrie Cohen
Candidate For City Council At Large

This is a big week for Cohen. She just learned over the weekend that city Democrats would endorse her run for City Council At-Large—the first time the city committee would do so for an openly gay council candidate in its history.