Despite urgings from business and religious leaders nationwide, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant just signed an anti-LGBT discriminatory bill into law. The GOP governor said in a statement he did so,
“to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions of individuals, organizations, and private associations from discriminatory action by state government.“
University of Mississippi School of Law Professor George Cochran last week said the bill was “unconstitutional.”
For those unfamiliar with just how wide-sweeping the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act“, it would:
• prohibit the government from taking any action against religious organizations that decline to provide adoption or foster care services to married same-sex couples.
• allow physicians and other medical professionals to deny services related to sex reassignment or “psychological, counseling, or fertility services” based upon their religious beliefs
• prohibits government from taking action against employers or school officials who establish “sex-specific rules and policies concerning who may use restrooms, lockers, or dressing rooms.
• protect individuals whose sincerely held beliefs include that “sexual relations are properly reserved” to a marriage between a man and a woman, raising questions about whether single mothers could be targeted
GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said,
“Governor Bryant has put the people and the economy of Mississippi at risk and damaged his state’s reputation by signing this regressive anti-LGBT bill into law. If Gov. Bryant listened to the stories of Mississippians fired from jobs, refused service, and shunned from their families, then perhaps he might have a sense of why bills like HB 1523 devastate LGBT people and their families. But Gov. Bryant’s attack on fairness will not deter us; the LGBT community will not stop demanding equality and full acceptance until everyone in Mississippi can live the life they love.“