Remember way back in February when we all got excited that Jan Brewer showed a modicum of human decency and vetoed Arizona’s “let institutionalize and business-ize hate against the gays” law? Looks like we started to rest on our laurels, got soft, failed to be eternally vigilant, and we didn’t pay attention to Mississippi, where the legislature was ramming through pretty much the same bill.
The Mississippi legislature has passed legislation that would allow people to use their religion to justify discrimination. […]
“Religious liberty” bills like the one vetoed in Arizona differ from other states’ “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” (RFRAs) because they extend religious protections to businesses. Mississippi’s bill has this same problem, because state law already defines a “person” to include “all public and private corporations.” Thus, if Bryant were to sign Mississippi’s bill into law, it would grant all businesses in the state a license to discriminate based on religious grounds.
Mississippi does not currently have any state or local nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community, but a business could use this legislation to justify discrimination against anybody not protected by federal law.
The big difference between Arizona’s law and Mississippi’s? Mississippi’s governor, Phil Bryant, signed the thing because of course he did.
And who showed up at the signing? Human misery machine Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council, because this thing was his baby all the way.
The Family Research Council, an anti-LGBT hate group, took credit for its passage:
The victory was a huge one for FRC, who worked with local churches and conservative policy organizations to coordinate a pastors’ letter in support of the measures with more than 600 signatures. That, in turn, helped to bring along the business community — which, in Arizona, was so deceived by the media and outside leftist groups that it couldn’t distinguish what the bill actually did. Mississippi companies didn’t have that problem, because the state tuned out the propaganda and focused on the actual language.
Alrighty then. Let’s go look at the actual language of the bill! Here’s some mushy yet terrifying language defining what “exercise of religion” means in Mississippi:
“Exercise of religion” means the practice or observance of religion. “Exercise of religion” includes, but is not limited to, the ability to act or the refusal to act in a manner that is substantially motivated by one’s sincerely held religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.
That sure sounds to us like you can exercise your religion by telling the homos that they can’t order a cake from you or stay in your hotel, but that is probably because our heads are all fogged with liberal propaganda. The bill also goes on to address the critical issue of including “In God We Trust” on the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi, so apparently there are no real problems in Mississippi because the legislature can just fritter away its time on changing the goddamn stationary and hating the gays. Good to know.