The Mississippi Legislature and Governor Phil Bryant have set Mississippi back to an era that treated some citizens as "less than" with the passage and signing of House Bill 1523 — the so-called Protecting Freedom of Conscience for Government Discrimination Act.
In Gov. Bryant's statement following his signing of the bill, he said that the legislation prevents government interference in the lives of people. In fact,HB1523 promotes government interference by sanctioning discrimination and attacking the liberty and freedom of citizens throughout the state.
HB1523 doesn't just affect members of the LGBT community, but hurts so many people across the state. Here are just a few examples of what HB1523 will do:
- Single mothers or fathers can be turned away by a homeless shelter.
- A school counselor can refuse to counsel a pregnant teen.
- Families will suffer because they were denied necessary health care, fired from their jobs, or treated unfairly and will have no redress for it.
The ACLU of Mississippi is your Defender of Freedom, and we will remain on the frontlines and respond to any incidents of discrimination. As we continue to closely examine our next steps, here are a few things you can do to show your opposition to this deplorable legislation:
- Contact us with any complaints if you experience discrimination as a result of this law.
- Host a Town Hall in your community and invite us to take part!
- Stand with us as a volunteer.
Mississippi has returned to the "good ole boy days" and is again cloaked in a reputation of hate. The mounting fallout includes bans on official business travel to Mississippi by Vermont, Washington, New York, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia. Several businesses, like Levi's, AT&T, IBM, and others, have also taken a stand against the bill.
Eddie Outlaw, an ACLU of Mississippi board member and small business owner, issued this statement:
William Wallace Salon and Fondren Barber Shop believe that any legislation that encourages discrimination for any reason is damaging to our state and goes against the idea that all people are created equal. We are in business to serve the citizens of greater Metro Jackson and central Mississippi and treat each client with the respect and dignity that we and our talented team of stylists and barbers expect from them. There is no place for hate in our state.
Take a stand against hate in our state! We are all Mississippi!