Massive Anti-Gay Law Signed in Mississippi
Fun fact: Mississippi didn’t ratify the 13th Amendment - which ended slavery - until 1995.
Think about that as you read this “religious freedom” story.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s governor signed a law on Tuesday that allows public and private businesses to refuse service to gay couples based on the employers’ religious beliefs.
Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1523, despite opposition from gay-rights groups and some businesses who say it enables discrimination. Some conservative and religious groups support the bill.
The measure’s stated intention is to protect those who believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman, that sexual relations should only take place inside such marriages, and that male and female genders are unchangeable.
“This bill merely reinforces the rights which currently exist to the exercise of religious freedom as stated in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” the Republican governor wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter account.
The measure allows churches, religious charities and privately held businesses to decline services to people whose lifestyles violate their religious beliefs. Individual government employees may also opt out, although the measure says governments must still provide services.
“This bill does not limit any constitutionally protected rights or actions of any citizen of this state under federal or state laws,” Bryant said. “It does not attempt to challenge federal laws, even those which are in conflict with the Mississippi Constitution, as the Legislature recognizes the prominence of federal law in such limited circumstances.”
Other states have considered similar legislation. North Carolina enacted a law, while governors in Georgia and South Dakota vetoed proposals.