Ingalls Shipbuilding christened its newest Navy warship Saturday — the Portland — despite the refusal of its namesake city’s mayor to get on board.
The LPD 27 Navy vessel is named for the largest city in Oregon.
That’s why the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus invited Portland Mayor Charlie Hales to attend the amphibious transport dock’s christening at the Pascagoula shipyard.
Hales declined the invitation, citing his objection to HB 1523, also known as the Religious Liberty Accommodations Act. Hales said he believes the new Mississippi law, which will take effect July 1, legalizes discrimination against the LGBT community. Like several other municipalities and states, the Portland City Council also banned any "non-essential travel" to Mississippi.
Hales explained his refusal to come to the Coast port in a Facebook post.
"The First Lady and I were invited by the U.S. Secretary of the Navy to help christen the USS Portland in Mississippi. We were scheduled to go in May. We will not be taking that trip if that discriminatory law isn’t repealed. It would be a shame if the mayor of Portland couldn’t attend the christening of the USS Portland, but I will not travel to a state that legalizes bigotry."
Without Hale in attendance, Bonnie Amos, wife of retired Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos, smashed a bottle of sparkling wine…