When in our country did it become alright and even protected from the law to discriminate against people who are different from you? Who in their right mind truly believes that Mississippi’s HB 1523 was simply enacted to “protect religious freedom”? If you think HB 1523 only targets the LGBT community you have been mislead.
HB 1523 was signed by Gov. Phil Bryant in April 2016 but was stopped by a district court in July 2016. In his ruling U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves wrote that HB 1523 “puts its thumb on the scale to favor some religious beliefs over others” and “violates both the guarantee of religious neutrality and the promise of equal protection of the laws”. The matter was then challenged in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Barber v. Bryant. Arguments for and against the horrendous law were presented in April of 2017, with judges ruling on June 22nd that HB 1523 should become law.
This law is being called the most discriminatory anti LGBT state law in the country. HB 1523 gives broad permission to discriminate against LGBT people, seemingly to protect the “free exercise of religious beliefs”.
Who is protected under Hate Bill 1523?
Basically every straight, married christian. But they aren’t the only ones who will be free to discriminate; religious organizations and state employees are also free to discriminate. Taxpayer funded organizations like schools and hospitals can also openly discriminate against LGBT individuals. Isn’t that lovely? While same sex marriage is still legal, state employees can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. So while you may still be able to legally marry your same sex partner, you may not find anyone who will issue your marriage license. Under this law almost any individual or organization could justify discrimination not only against LGBT individuals but also unwed couples, single mothers and non Christians.
Who is No Longer Protected?
Individuals who are having premarital sex
How Will This Bill Effect Those who Are No Longer Protected from Discrimination?
This is about more than a baker refusing to bake a cake for a same sex couple. Now anyone can discriminate against the groups I listed above. People can harass a single mother who is out to dinner with her children. Or a married woman who’s husband is over seas, simply because she appears to be a single mother. A man who appears gay(even if he isn’t) can be refused service. An unwed couple with children needing economic assistance can be refused because they had premarital sex. You see this bill is about more than just discrimination against LGBT individuals. Even if you don’t know someone who is part of the LGBT community you have to know an unwed couple having premarital sex or a single mother. How would you feel if they were discriminated against?
Companies can adopt anti-trans restroom policies, because they believe (male) man (female) woman refer to an individuals immutable biological sex was determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth. HB 1523 can affect adoptions or foster care, leaving more children in shelters and orphanages. Companies can refuse to sell homes to LGBT families and children can even be subjected to CONVERSION THERAPY. DID YOU READ THAT!? Funeral homes can refuse services to LGBT individuals or single mothers and claim it’s their religious belief. This bill gives individuals a completely free pass no matter how much of a hardship they are inflicting.
The bill has been criticized by business leaders in the tech industry, and states like New York and California have banned non essential government employee travel to Mississippi. Approximately 38,000 LGBT workers in Mississippi are not protected from discrimination under new state laws. At this time we do not have numbers for how many people will be open for discrimination but with Mississippi having one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the country this bill could be devastating.
What are Mississippi residents saying about HB 1523?
I have been personally discriminated against for being a butch lesbian I have been told I don’t belong in a women’s bathroom I have been told I couldn’t go into a restaurant I have been harassed at work while just trying to get to my car to go home this was all in Mississippi I moved there for the love of my life I for one think this bill is a huge mistake it will just be more hate against LGBTQ which we don’t need or deserve any hate at all.
I feel like this is detrimental to every person who lives in the state of Mississippi. I personally am affected as a heterosexual female because I have homosexual friends and family members. All humans should have rights. I feel like this is also going to be dangerous to our economy. LGTBQ people inhabit our state, they pay taxes, run businesses, are patrons to small businesses, you name it. If we discriminate and deny services based on who they define themselves as, or who they love, they will move away to a more accepting state. Aside from that, I feel like this was passed based from a “Christian” standpoint. This could not be further from the Christian perspective, God tells us “love thy neighbor as thyself.” It does not say, unless they are gay, unless they are Muslim, unless this, it says LOVE THY NEIGHBOR, period. This brings me to another point, if any business owner is granted the right to deny services based on whatever bias he or she wishes, what happens if someone wishes not to serve someone because they are a Christian? Would that cause an uproar? Surely it would. This is why I feel this must be overturned. It should have never been passed in the first place, as it was poorly written and inhumane. I have taught my daughter since birth that a loving family is simply that, a loving family. Two moms, two dads, one of each, a dad, stepdad and a mom, it DOES not matter & even she would tell you that. Take a step back and flip this situation back to slave times. African Americans were discriminated based off of the color of their skin. That wasn’t right and has been overthrown. How is this any different? It isn’t. It isn’t right, it isn’t good for my family, it isn’t good for my friends and it isn’t good for our state!
There’s just such a fine line with the current discussion. One side wants to not be discriminated against, but that comes at the cost of another sides freedom. That’s weird to say, I know, but businesses should be able to make any choice that they want, always. That’s where people’s moral compass comes into play, and unfortunately there are hateful people out there. But if government can tell a business owner how to run his/her own business, then I just feel like it’s wrong. That’s the tricky part about change. We want to have laws and control when it benefits us and makes us feel safe, but scream injustice if those laws and control affect our freedom. Businesses have always had the right to allow service or deny service to anyone of their choosing, otherwise people with no shoes, no shirt, would actually get service. Again, I’m not advocating anyone to get discriminated against, but I also don’t think that would automatically happen either. Both sides currently have choice, and that’s how it should be. A customer can choose not to patronize a store just as much as a store can choose not to serve the customer.