Who'd have thought this state would sanction hatred against minorities?
I've always said I was shocked to see marriage equality in my lifetime. I'm awfully glad I did. But once it seemed like it was inevitable, I also feared that it would turn into the second Roe v. Wade of my lifetime, as it became clear some lunatics would make it their full-time job to continue opposing something the Supreme Court said was a settled matter. I think it's safe to say my fears were warranted, with the latest -- and most vile -- example being today in Mississippi, where Gov. Phil Bryant 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 the state. While no other state has passed a law like this, the ACLU notes that 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. Marriage equality may be the law of the land now. But it's clear that I will not live to see the end of this government-sanctioned hatred in my lifetime, as this law and others like it will languish in the courts for decades to come. Note to Susan Sarandon: Don't vote for Hillary Clinton all you want. But know that it's on you and sour Sanders supporters when President Trump replaces enough Supreme Court justices that these "religious freedom" laws end up getting upheld on appeal while you're still waiting for your "revolution."
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.”
I have signed House Bill 1523. Full statement: pic.twitter.com/00DbgQADFt— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) April 5, 2016
If Mississippi had corporations or a modern economy, this new anti-LGBT law would probably have negative consequences for them.— Speaker Cruz (@HavanaTed) April 5, 2016
UPDATE: The New York Times has the latest from the South, including PayPal's decision to scrap expansion plans (and 400 jobs) in North Carolina HERE.