Gov. Bryant Approves Law that Would Harm Thousands of Mississippians

April 5, 2016

Jackson, Miss.  Governor Phil Bryant has signed HB 1523 into law after rapid movement on the bill by the state House of Representatives. The law, which is set to go into effect in July, sanctions discrimination by individuals, businesses, religiously-affiliated organizations  including hospitals, schools, shelters and others  against LGBT people, single mothers, and vulnerable young people in Mississippi.  While no other state has passed a law like this, Mississippi also has the dubious distinction of being the first state to codify discrimination based on a religious belief or moral conviction that members of the LGBTQ community do not matter. Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, had the following reaction:

“This is a sad day for the state of Mississippi and for the thousands of Mississippians who can now be turned away from businesses, refused marriage licenses, or denied housing, essential services and needed care based on who they are. This bill flies in the face of the basic American principles of fairness, justice and equality and will not protect anyone’s religious liberty. Far from protecting anyone from ‘government discrimination’ as the bill claims, it is an attack on the citizens of our state, and it will serve as the Magnolia State’s badge of shame.”

The ACLU is fighting anti-LGBT laws across the country. Earlier this week, the ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and Equality North Carolina filed a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBT law. The ACLU and its 53 state affiliates are following other bills elsewhere, pressuring lawmakers to not enshrine bigotry into law, urge gubernatorial vetoes and demanding repeal as needed.

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