A Mississippi law that purported to defend “religious freedom” by allowing state officials and others to discriminate against LGBT residents was scheduled to go into effect today. That won’t be happening, thanks to a federal court ruling.
Yesterday we celebrated the one-year anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court decision that made marriage equality the law of the land. Today we want to remind you that there’s still much work to do.
Thanks to the power of the Religious Right, a number of bad bills have circulated in the states this year that would allow discrimination against LGBT persons in the name of “religious freedom.”
Here are updates on the status of some of those measures.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed a broadly worded bill into law in April that allows government employees, corporations, individuals, healthcare providers and non-profit organizations to use religion as a justification to discriminate against same-sex couples, single mothers, divorcees and anyone who has had sex outside of marriage.
According to National Public Radio, Bryant claimed on Twitter that he signed the bill, H.B. 1523, “to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions...from discriminatory action by state government.”
It is deeply distressing that Mississippi lawmakers have approved a measure that could permit religion-based discrimination against many Mississippians, including LGBT persons, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
In a move that seems straight out of the 1960s, a Mississippi landlord has asked a husband and wife to leave his recreational vehicle (RV) park for no reason other than the fact that they are an interracial couple. And like so many attempts to discriminate in 2016, the owner of the park is relying on an old tactic, reportedly booting the two because his church opposes such marriages.
A Mississippi bill that would have allowed public school teachers to include pseudoscientific theories in classroom instruction died in the House Education Committee.
As reported by the National Center for Science Education, the bill, H.B. 50, claimed “to help students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.” It cited “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life and human cloning” as controversial subjects.
A Mississippi school district is in hot water after it invited a Christian pastor to deliver a prayer at a school function, in violation of a court order. But the best (worst) part of this story is the district’s excuse for the violation: its administrators are incapable of understanding the First Amendment.