Mississippi Senate Passes Astoundingly Stupid Anti-LGBT “Religious Freedom” Bill
Here we go again! Joining in on what seems to be the hot trend this week, the Mississippi senate passed an anti-LGBT “but we swear this is totally just about Jesus” bill last night even more broad than the one passed in North Carolina or the one recently vetoed in Georgia.
House Bill 1523, which already passed the Mississippi House in February, is designed to “protect” Christians from “government discrimination” due to their “sincerely-held religious beliefs.” And, by “government discrimination” they mean “having to follow the law.”
The “sincerely held religious beliefs” protected by the bill are that:
a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman;
b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and
c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.
The bill would allow anyone – including state employees like clerks and judges, as well as dressmakers, floral businesses, photographers, limousine and car service providers, caterers etc. –to refuse to provide services for same-sex marriages. It will also allow counselors, psychologists and doctors to refuse to provide services to transgender people (with exemptions for emergencies, as they are not monsters), and allow faith-based adoption services (including those receiving government funding) to refuse to provide adoption services to those whose sexual preferences or gender identity upset them.
Oh! And it would allow employers to fire women for wearing pants, if a gender-based dress code happened to be one of their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
In Mississippi, it’s déjà vu all over again. Although Brown v. Board Of Education made segregation illegal in 1954, Mississippi schools remained segregated until the late 1960s. In order to preserve this, White Citizens’ Councils set up special “segregation academies” because private schools weren’t subject to the ruling. If you had asked any person supporting segregation at that time why they supported it, they would tell you it was their deeply held religious conviction that the races should be separated.
I’d like to point out a couple facts about the state of Mississippi, if I may.
For one, it’s the poorest state in the country. So, not only should they perhaps be worrying about other things, it’s probably not a good idea for them, economically speaking, to enact gross laws that will drive businesses away from their state.
For another, it is the state with the most dependency on federal funding. The entire rest of the country–a very large portion of which does not support legalized discrimination against LGBT people–has to support their ass, while they waste their time on bullshit like this? And we have to give them money while they enact legalized discrimination against people? Screw that. Also, given that it’s a state of mostly Republicans, you’d think they’d be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps!
For another, this is still their state flag!
Which is, for all intents and purposes, an homage to a time when they were able to discriminate against even more people. And even enslave them!
For yet another–the state also ranks second to last in academic achievement, and last in science and math test scores. Now, correlation is not causation, but…it is a little coincidental that the state with one of the worst education systems is also enacting one of the dumbest laws on earth.
I am deeply, deeply tired of writing articles on this subject. I’m tired of explaining that “religious freedom” doesn’t mean you get to discriminate against people or break the law. I am tired of explaining that, surely, they would be upset if someone else were to create a religion that had a “sincerely held belief” that required them to refuse service to Christians, and this was allowed by law. I mean, for crying out loud–we are talking about people who lose their shit for four months a year because they’re sad about store clerks not wishing them a goddamned Merry Christmas!
I don’t believe these sorts of bills are going to pass constitutional muster, I think if they go to the Supreme Court, they’ll get knocked down in a minute. But really, the fact that they’re still trying is absolutely nauseating.