JACKSON, MISS– The Human Rights Campaign, members of local organizations, and pastors from area churches led a march in the streets of Downtown Jackson Sunday opposing the Religious Liberties Accommodation Act and asking for its repeal.
“H.B. 1523 has opened a massive loophole allowing almost any individual or organization to use broad justifications to discriminate against LGBTQ Mississippians at work, at school and in their communities,” says a statement from the HRC, “Under this new law, almost any individual or organization could justify discrimination against LGBTQ people, single mothers, unwed couples, and others.”
The organization also says that tax-payer funded faith-based organizations could refuse to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples, which could deny services including emergency shelter; deny adoption to same-sex couples or even family members of the child in question; and refuse to sell or rent a for-profit home to an LGBTQ person — even if the organization receives government funding.
“HB 1523 even legalizes Kim Davis-style discrimination by allowing government employees to abdicate their duties and refuse to license or solemnize marriages for LGBTQ people,” says the statement.
Representative Andy Gipson co-authored the bill with Speaker Philip Gunn. Gipson says the bill was written to protect those whom may oppose certain lifestyles according to their faith. Gipson says that no constitutional rights are being taken away, because whomever is refusing to issue a marriage license must pass that responsibility on to someone else.
The law will be enacted on July 1.