Nation reacts to Mississippi’s ‘Religious Freedom’ bill

Apr 5, 2016

Photo credit: Rogelio V. Solis, AP

By Sarah Fowler

The Mississippi Senate passed HB1523, known as the Religious Liberty Accommodation Act, Wednesday night in a 32-17 vote. The bill gives businesses the right to deny service to members of the LGBT community based on religious or moral beliefs without facing retribution from the state.

Within minutes of its passing, national organizations weighed in with their response.

The Human Rights Campaign called the acts of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and the Mississippi Senate “shameful” and called on Gov. Phil Bryant to veto the bill.

“Following the shameful actions of Lt. Governor Reeves and the Mississippi Senate, Governor Bryant is left with a very clear choice on how to lead his state forward when H.B. 1523 comes to his desk,” said HRC president Chad Griffin. “Will he follow the example of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, who understood that discrimination in any form is unacceptable? Or will he align himself with North Carolina’s Governor McCrory, who, in sanctioning discrimination, has harmed both his constituents and the economy of North Carolina?”

A spokesman  for Bryant said Thursday the governor has not decided whether to sign the bill.

The Civil and Human Rights Coalition compared the bill to Jim Crow. If Bryant does not veto the bill, they said, Mississippi will be set back to the time under former Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett.

“Ross Barnett, a former Mississippi governor, once used religion to justify Jim Crow laws by calling God ‘the original segregationist.’ Religious arguments have also been used in our nation to oppose women’s suffrage, interracial marriage, the acceptance of Asian immigrants, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the abolition of slavery,” the coalition said in an emailed statement. “Bryant’s choice is clear: Either follow the path of progress or turn back the clock to the time of Ross Barnett. The civil rights community strongly urges him to veto HB1523”

Thursday afternoon, Nissan North America released a statement on the bill, saying they oppose any legislation that would allow discrimination against the LGBT community. Nissan employs approximately 6,400 people at their Canton facility, according to Josh Clifton, senior manager of corporate communications.

“Nissan is committed to providing our employees with an inclusive workplace environment that supports diversity,” the company said via email. “It is Nissan’s policy to prohibit discrimination of any type, and we oppose any legislation that would allow discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.”

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3 comments on “Nation reacts to Mississippi’s ‘Religious Freedom’ bill

  • If you read the entire article in the Clarion-Ledger, it goes on to say that a group of ministers sent a letter to the legislature using biblical scripture to dismiss the bill. How Jesus Christ would never have been prejudiced against the LGBTQI community.

    Here in the bible belt people speak in biblical quotes. You can’t believe the extensiveness of such low information voters and citizens. That these legislators who know NOTHING about human beings-(Being black is how you are born, HOWEVER sexual orientation is a “choice” is so bizarre) dare to legislate how they FEEL about humans rather than having any working knowledge of evolutionary biology is outrageous. These are also the same people who are climate change deniers. Yet they say “I’m not a scientist so I can’t comment on climate change.” Yet have NO trouble legislating against how a person is “wired” in sexual orientation. As any person in the LGBTQI community will tell you “Do you think I wanted to be gay? Do you think I wanted to be so different that people would HATE me?”

    I have no hope that the bible belt states will ever change. It seems that using monetary sanctions against these states is the only way to change the laws. The governor of Georgia was quick to veto his state’s “religious liberties” bill when the head of the National Football League called him and said that the championship game–the Superbowl–would NOT be held in Georgia unless he vetoed the bill. Governor Nathan Deal immediately went live on television to say he was vetoing the bill. I’m surprised he didn’t develop whiplash or a contre-coup brain injury from turning so quickly!

    Most of the southern states-the bible belt-have our military installations. The military is huge in the USA. FY2015’s budget was $618 BILLION. I would like to see every one of these forts, installations, navy ports closed and moved to states that didn’t have such egregious laws. For example Texas has over a dozen bases. Houston, Texas passed a law against transgender people that they had to use the public bathroom or shower facility that matched the sex on their birth certificate! (Just HOW were they going to enforce THAT law!) Ft. Hood in Texas is one of the largest military bases in the world. Nearly 300,000 soldiers, family members, and retirees live at Ft. Hood. It has 9,000 civilian jobs on base. But more telling is that the fort is surrounded by seven cities of 335,000 whose livelihoods are dependent on Fort Hood. Houses for sale, rentals, hotels, car dealerships, restaurants, night clubs and bars, pawn shops, tattoo parlors, food manufacturing, truck drivers and moving companies and so on. The South’s economy would be devastated if these installations were closed down.

    That is why the federal government should say “Follow our equal protection clause of our Constitution….or lose your bases.”

    These states seceded from the union in 1861 to form the Confederate States of America. We now wonder how wise it was to fight a civil war that killed 600,000 people to win these states back. These states are STILL fighting that war 150 years later. The USA is no longer dependent on King Cotton–which was a huge industry using millions of African slaves to profit heavily. The UK got its cotton from these southern states. Now? Let ’em secede. Let ’em go and they WILL go under.

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  • If you want to do your small part against LGBT discrimination then here’s a few NC products you can boycott: Le Bleu bottled water, Goody’s headache powder, and Mt. Olive pickles.

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  • @ OP – The Mississippi Senate passed HB1523, known as the Religious Liberty Accommodation Act, Wednesday night in a 32-17 vote. The bill gives businesses the right to deny service to members of the LGBT community based on religious or moral beliefs without facing retribution from the state.

    Within minutes of its passing, national organizations weighed in with their response.

    I see the Vatican is up to its eyes in double-talk again!

    Pope Francis has published new guidelines on family life that argue the Church should show more understanding of modern realities.

    The document, based on two Synods on the issue, was eagerly awaited by the world’s 1.3bn Roman Catholics.

    .Entitled “On Love in the Family”, it does not change Catholic doctrine.

    But it opens the way for bishops in each country to interpret doctrine to suit their own culture, the BBC’s religion correspondent reports.

    The document lists the Pope’s views on family life, marriage, contraception and bringing up children.

    It is the culmination of three years’ work by the Pope, who sent a questionnaire to families across the world asking them about their hopes and their fears.

    Key quotes from On Love in the Family

    “As for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”
    “I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion. But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a Church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness.”

    The Pope has not changed Catholic doctrine, as some had hoped, but he does open the way for greater devolution within the Catholic Church on issues such as communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

    What he suggests is that bishops in each country can seek solutions best suited to their own culture, and he calls for better integration into the Church of those in what he calls “irregular” situations.

    Or – translated into clear English – “When the church bigotry loses it members and money, a bit of fudged theistic ‘interpretation’ is needed to continue to disparage and patronise, those whose lives and personal relationships take priority over dogmas from the dark ages, – while retaining their membership in, and funding of, the obstructive and abusive RCC organisation they have been indoctrinated into as children!”

    Liberals had hoped he would tell the Church to show a more merciful attitude to those whose families do not conform to the current Catholic ideal.

    Conservatives had maintained it would devalue the principle established by Jesus of marriage being indissoluble.

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