Mississippi Senate Advances Sweeping Anti-LGBT Bill

By Adam Polaski • March 31, 2016 • 10:14 am

Mississippi’s long history of discrimination took another unfortunate turn today as the state Senate advanced one of the most onerous and virulently anti-LGBT pieces of legislation in the nation. The bill was amended in the Senate and now goes back to the House, which has already approved a version of the legislation, for further consideration.

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If signed into law, House Bill 1523 would allow public employees to refuse to issue marriage licenses or perform weddings for same-sex couples. The measure also allows businesses and individuals to deny housing, jobs and public services to people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as single mothers and unmarried couples.  

You can take action by urging Governor Phil Bryant to reject this legislation here.

Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said today:

“The passage of this bill marks another unfortunate moment in Mississippi’s history. This legislation has nothing to do with protecting anyone’s religious freedom — that important right is already enshrined in the US and Mississippi state constitutions. This bill was written to allow public businesses and taxpayer funded government employees to discriminate against LGBT individuals, single mothers, unmarried couples and their families.”  

For the past few years, legislation to legalize discrimination against LGBT individuals has surged through state legislatures, but in most of these states – including Arizona, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, South Dakota, and Georgia – the bills  have been stopped before ever becoming law due to overwhelming backlash from the business community and the public at-large.  Mississippi should do the same with House Bill 1523.

Indiana and North Carolina are two states that have adopted so called “religious exemption bills,” and have seen their economies lose millions of dollars in business, conventions and tourism. 

McTighe continued: “No one wants to live, work or even visit a state where their families, employees, customers or associates can be discriminated against. That’s one of the many reasons why we are seeing Republican governors and lawmakers in states like Georgia, Wisconsin, and South Dakota standing up and opposing these bills.”  

Take action by urging Governor Phil Bryant to reject this legislation here.


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