New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned essential state funded travel to Mississippi Tuesday due to a newly passed religious freedom law in the state. Cuomo used to do business in a nation where being gay is punishable by law.
Mississippi signed in its religious freedom law Tuesday which allows individuals, religious organizations and certain businesses to deny services to gays. When announcing his travel ban Cuomo said the law is “sad.”
Last week, Cuomo also passed a similar travel ban to North Carolina due to their respective religious freedom law.
In 2003, Cuomo started working for Island Capitol Group, an international real-estate firm. As part of his work there the now-governor travelled to Dubai on two occasions for business. There he consulted for Nakheel and Istithmar — two of Dubai’s largest developing companies — which are directly owned by the United Arab Emirates’ Sheikh Mohammed, Observer reports.
In the UAE, gay sex is punishable by law with a minimum sentence of one year in jail. In the country’s capitol, Abu Dhabi, “personal intercourse contrary to nature” receives penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment.
Cuomo told the Observer that when he worked in the UAE it, “was the progressive society in the Middle East.”
His office has not responded to a request for comment about how he can justify the travel ban considering his past personal business dealings.