You may want to rethink any plans to visit Mississippi after Friday; the state is about to enact a new law that permits doctors, lawyers and teachers to refuse to provide services based on their own religious beliefs about marriage and sex.
The Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523) will protect the actions of individuals and businesses who believe that marriage can only take place between a man and a woman, that sex can only take place within the confines of marriage, and that your gender is only what was written on your birth certificate.
This means that anyone within the LGBT community can be fired based on their sexuality.
This means an organization can decline “to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization, formation, celebration or recognition of any marriage.”
This means you can be denied a place to live because you're gay.
Want to adopt? Fostering organizations and adoption agencies can refuse to help you.
Last week, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to rehear a challenge to the new law, saying the plaintiffs, the Campaign for Southern Equality, lacked standing in the case. The court did not, however, consider whether the law was constitutional or not.
Some are now hoping to convince the Supreme Court of the United States to hear the case.
“We are appealing to our nation’s highest court to make sure that attempts by state legislatures to defy the law of the land and trample the rights of LGBT people are blocked for good,” said Susan Sommer
, director of Constitutional Litigation at Lambda Legal. “Mississippi’s HB 1523 creates a toxic environment of fear and prejudice. Along with other anti-LGBT laws across the country like those in North Carolina and Texas, these laws are a pack of wolves in sheep’s clothing, dressing up discrimination and calling it religious freedom.”
Of course, Governor Phil Bryant claimed the legislation was “perfectly constitutional.”
“The people of Mississippi have the right to ensure that all of our citizens are free to peacefully live and work without fear of being punished for their sincerely held religious beliefs," he claimed
The state was founded back in 1817 -- and it's been downhill ever since.