Senate Bill 2681 Still a Threat
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12th, 2014
Jackson, Miss - The ACLU of Mississippi remains concerned that the status of Senate Bill 2681 continues to open the door to discrimination against any group based on religious objections. Although the House did strike section one of the proposed bill removing all language related to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) with the exception of adding “In God We Trust” to the state seal, it passed an amendment to establish an unnecessary Religious Freedoms Study Committee. The establishment of the study committee does no more than keep this potential license to discriminate “alive” as admitted by House Judiciary B Committee Chair, Representative Andy Gipson.
Rep. Gipson offered as evidence to support the RFRA that other states, including southern states, have adopted similar bills. The fact is that legislatures across the country, including Georgia, Idaho, Maine and Ohio have rejected similar measures.
We are disappointed that such a ploy to keep a discriminatory measure was supported and ignored the national, local and public outcry against legislation of this nature. The ACLU of Mississippi will continue to oppose Senate Bill 2681 and will defend religious freedom as a fundamental right. We have the absolute right to believe whatever we want about God, faith, and religion, and we have the right to act on our beliefs, unless those actions harm others.
Senate Bill 2681 remains a looming threat. The results of the study committee that was established by the amendment that passed the House today may go to conference. If the conference committee reaches an agreement, its report must be approved by both houses by April 2nd.