The Mississippi Senate has passed the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act” on a 32-17 vote, according to the Jackson Clarion Ledger.
The bill is seen as the worst discrimination bill to come out of a state legislature yet.
Clerks would not have to do their jobs and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if that violated their religious beliefs. They wouldn’t have to make alternate arrangements either. Businesses could deny service to gays or trans people with no repercussion if the person orientation or gender identity went against their beliefs. Professional services such as counseling, healthcare, foster care or adoption services could also be denied.
Schools, employers and others could deny trans people access to bathroom facilities.
The bill moves back to the Mississippi House where a different version passed in February. It’s not clear whether Miss. Gov. Phil Bryant would sign the bill in to law once it gets to his desk.
“This legislation moves Mississippi backward, undermining equality for its residents and jeopardizing its ability to attract and retain fair-minded businesses,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Governor Byrant should be paying close attention to the backlash against discrimination in Georgia, where Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a terrible anti-LGBT bill, and in North Carolina, where fair-minded people and the broader business community are calling on state leaders to repudiate and repeal the discriminatory law passed last week. Mississippi’s economy and its reputation hang in the balance.”
Last week, North Carolina passed and its governor signed into law an anti-LGBT bill and is facing boycotts. Georgia’s governor vetoed similar legislation after threats of pulling business from the state by its business community.