June 29, 2022 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Mississippi enshrines antigay discrimination as a right

BRYANT
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

BY STAFF  |  Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who has a gay son, has signed a bill into law that allows religious groups and private businesses to refuse service to gay couples based on religious beliefs.

The measure clears the way for employers to impose their religious beliefs in implementing workplace policies, hiring, dress code, grooming and bathroom and locker access. It even allows real estate companies to deny housing based on sexual orientation and perceived gender.

Mississippi is latest state to draw national attention for passage of anti-LGBT laws. North Carolina recently barred transgender people from choosing bathrooms consistent with their gender identity and also prohibited its municipalities from enacting measures that would protect LGBT people.

Tennessee is considering similar legislation related to school bathrooms, and civil rights groups are watching a similar measure in Missouri. Last week, the governors of Georgia and Virginia vetoed “religious liberty” bills.

Mississippi’s governor signed House Bill 1523 into law despite universal opposition from gay-rights groups and many major businesses who say it is outright discrimination.

The law aims to protect the rights of those who believe marriage should be only between one man and one woman, that sexual relations should only take place inside such marriages, and that male and female genders are unchangeable.

“This bill merely reinforces the rights which currently exist to the exercise of religious freedom as stated in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” the state’s Republican governor wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

The law allows churches, religious charities and privately held businesses to decline services to people whose lifestyles they say violate their religious beliefs. Individual government employees may opt out of facilitating services and programs for LGBT people, although the measure says governments must still provide services.

“This bill does not limit any constitutionally protected rights or actions of any citizen of this state under federal or state laws,” Bryant said. “It does not attempt to challenge federal laws, even those which are in conflict with the Mississippi Constitution, as the Legislature recognizes the prominence of federal law in such limited circumstances.”

Bryant signed the measure into law within hours of receiving the bill.  Only days before the Supreme Court of the United States rebuked a Mississippi law that prohibited LGBT people from adopting children.

“This bill flies in the face of the basic American principles of fairness, justice and equality and will not protect anyone’s religious liberty,” Jennifer Riley-Collins, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, said in a statement. “Far from protecting anyone from ‘government discrimination’ as the bill claims, it is an attack on the citizens of our state, and it will serve as the Magnolia State’s badge of shame.”

“This is a sad day for the state of Mississippi and for the thousands of Mississippians who can now be turned away from businesses, refused marriage licenses, or denied housing, essential services and needed care based on who they are,” she said.

The ACLU, which is involved in a federal lawsuit challenging a similar law in North Carolina, said it was considering strategy in Mississippi.

Private sector businesses have pushed back against such legislation elsewhere;  the North Carolina law was almost immediately opposed by Apple Inc, Twitter Inc, Pay Pal, Amazon, Well Fargo, Alphabet Inc and dozens of other high-profile corporations with interests in that state.

On Tuesday, PayPal Holdings Inc, for example, canceled plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte, North Carolina and will withhold an investment of $3.6 million locally the discriminatory law..

In Mississippi, a growing number of private sector critics include Nissan North America and MGM Resorts International.

More than two-thirds of Mississippi residents and voters support the law, according to the Family Research Council, an influential Christian lobbying group.

“This new law gives fresh momentum to efforts on the federal and state level to stop government discrimination against people who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” its president, Tony Perkins, said in a statement.

Human Rights Campaign issued a statement:

“Under this new law, religion could be used by any individual or organization to justify discrimination against LGBT people, single mothers, unwed couples and others.  Tax-payer funded faith-based organizations could: refuse to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples for provision of critical services including emergency shelter; deny children in need of loving homes placement with LGBT families including the child’s own family member; and refuse to sell or rent a for-profit home to an LGBT person — even if the organization receives government funding. It would also give foster families the freedom to subject an LGBTQ child to the dangerous practice of “conversion therapy,” and subject a pregnant unwed girl to abuse, without fear of government intervention or license suspension. It would even allow individuals to refuse to carry out the terms of a state contract for the provision of counseling services to all eligible individuals, including veterans, based on the counselor’s beliefs about LGBT people or single mothers.”

Schools, employers, and service providers in Mississippi can now refuse transgender people access to appropriate sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity — all in direct conflict with the U.S. Department of Justice’s enforcement of federal law. HB 1523 even legalizes Kim Davis-style discrimination by allowing government employees to abdicate their duties and refuse to license or solemnize marriages for LGBT people.

Mississippi is the latest in an onslaught of anti-LGBT bills being pushed in 2016 by anti-equality activists around the country, including nearly 200 anti-LGBT bills in 34 states. As of today, at least half of these bills have been beaten back around the country.

Mississippi’s HB 1523 is the third stand-alone anti-LGBT bill signed in law in 2016.

 

 

in NEWS
Related Posts

Santa Monica’s Building Bridges Art Exchange Presents: J.J. Martin’s “Role Models”

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

A traveling exhibit in partnership with Indianilla Cultural Center, Mexico City and Real de Catorce Cultural Center, Real de Catorce,...

Los Angeles Frenchie Reaches Record Age Milestone for Its Breed, Surpassing Recent Life Expectancy Report by Three Fold

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

Learn about Rocco the French bulldog  By Susan Payne Native to Brazil, Rocco the French bulldog has reached an age...

44 Years Later, MLB’s First Openly Gay Player Glenn Burke Now Celebrated by Dodgers

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

Glenn Burke celebrated at Dodgers Pride night By Susan Payne The Los Angeles Dodgers’ ninth annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night celebrated...

The Book Jewel Celebrates Pride Month as a Community

June 22, 2022

June 22, 2022

Westchester bookstore hosting series of events this month The Book Jewel in Westchester is hosting several events this month that...

A Staple Tamales Vendor’s Truck Was Stolen. Friends of the Vendor Are Asking for LGBTQ+ Support to Bring Back Her Only Source of Income

June 17, 2022

June 17, 2022

By Susan Payne For nearly 16 years, a 52-year-old single mother of two has been serving the Los Angeles LGBTQ+...

LGBT Center Welcomes Incoming CEO Joe Hollendoner

June 17, 2022

June 17, 2022

By Susan Payne In an in-person sustaining donor event last November, longtime Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean for the...

Culver City Pride Ride and Rally Around the Corner

June 14, 2022

June 14, 2022

Sunday, June 26, 2022, 9 AM Pride Ride | 11 AM Rally Culver City’s second ever Pride celebration is set...

Police: Catholic High School Football Players Sexually Assault New Student

June 10, 2022

June 10, 2022

By Susan Payne Months of controversy over an alleged hazing scandal at a private high school in Santa Ana have...

Media Matters: Anti-Trans Violence Increases as TV News Coverage Drops 20%

June 10, 2022

June 10, 2022

By Susan Payne A report released by Media Matters’ LGBTQ Program found that national cable and corporate broadcast TV networks...

Oil Can Harry’s Named Historic-Cultural Monument

June 10, 2022

June 10, 2022

By Susan Payne For its historic and social significance to San Fernando Valley and the LGBTQ+ community, Oil Can Harry’s...

Music of Queen Preformed by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles at Fairmont Century Plaza

June 7, 2022

June 7, 2022

Free event June 18th at 7p.m. To celebrate PRIDE the Fairmont Century Plaza located will host an incredible performance by...

SaMo PRIDE Returns!

June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022

Month-long Pride celebration brings together community, families and LGBTQIA+ supporters of all ages SaMo PRIDE has returned! The city-wide celebration...

Rainbow on Royce Hall for Pride 2022

June 2, 2022

June 2, 2022

To mark the beginning of Pride Month on June 1, UCLA lit up one of its iconic buildings to acknowledge...

Pride Is Here. Here’s What You Can Expect in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Los Angeles and Long Beach

June 2, 2022

June 2, 2022

By Susan Payne West Hollywood Pride: With Liberty, Diversity, Inclusion and Progress for All As California enters Pride month, WeHo...