JACKSON, Miss.- The house passed HB1523 after over an hour of heated debate on the floor. The bill would protect the rights of religious people who do not agree with gay marriage and would allow their refusal of service without prosecution.
It’s called the Religious Liberties Accommodation Act and would allow for faith-based health care institutions, schools, and circuit clerks whose religious beliefs do not accept marriages outside the lines of one man and one woman.
The bill would protect those people from being discriminated against if they chose to refuse service. Those in opposition to the bill says it will allow discrimination toward homosexual couples.
Lawmakers were fired up about the topic once it hit the floor. Rep. Wooten battled Rep. Gipson for several minutes before she ended her questions with,
“This is a hypocritical bill, but thank you gentlemen.”
After her comments the mic went back and forth between individuals who opposed the bill in support of protecting the rights of those who choose gay marriage. Others quoted specific verses from the Bible.
The debate became extremely religious as Rep. Scott proposed an amendment that would also include second marriages as an abomination due to scripture recongizing it as adultry. The amendment was denied.
After all of that the bill was passed 80-39 and makes its way to the Senate.
The Human Rights Campaign has already commented on the legislative decision:
“It is inconceivable that lawmakers in the Magnolia State are willing to advance legislation that will knowingly put some of Mississippi’s most vulnerable people at risk,” said HRC Mississippi State Director and former United Methodist pastor Rob Hill. “These shameful attacks on LGBT people and their families have no place in our state, and they fundamentally undermine the values that so many of us hold dear. We hope the State Senate will reject H.B. 1523 and stand on the side of fairness and equality for all.”
This bill is one of 12 anti LBGT laws being passed through the session this year.