JACKSON, MISS– The Religious Liberties Accommodation Act, or H.B. 1523, has passed the state Senate 31-17 and now heads back to the House.
This bill is written to protect a person or business if they make a decision to not serve someone based on their lifestyle, religion, or other factors.
The Human Rights Campaign says this bill allows the open and protected discrimination of taxpaying Mississippians within the LGBTQ community. The HRC is urging Governor Bryant to veto this measure, much like the governor of Georgia did.
“Following the shameful actions of Lt. Governor Reeves and the Mississippi Senate, Governor Bryant is left with a very clear choice on how to lead his state forward when H.B. 1523 comes to his desk,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Will he follow the example of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, who understood that discrimination in any form is unacceptable? Or will he align himself with North Carolina’s Governor McCrory, who, in sanctioning discrimination, has harmed both his constituents and the economy of North Carolina?”
The HRC says that this bill wouldn’t just discriminate against same-sex couples; unwed mothers, unwed couples who choose to live together, and others that may not line up their lives with religious teachings.
Within this bill, a landowner could refuse to rent to someone, if that person does not line up with their beliefs.
Erik Flemming, with the Mississippi branch of the American Civil Liberties Union says this bill allows violation of federal law.
“If you’re in a church, or a sanctuary, you have the right to practice the tenants of that faith,” says Flemming, “but if you’re a business, say a bakery, and say ‘I don’t want to do that,’ then you’re violating federal law by not providing a service.”
If this bill passes the House, it could go to the governor and be signed into law.