The Mississippi Legislature passed an anti-gay “religious freedom” bill on Tuesday similar to the one vetoed in Arizona. The law legalizes anti-gay discrimination as long as it’s done in the name of religion.
The bill that passed was rewritten after the Arizona bill was vetoed. The blatant anti-gay animus was removed. The new bill is simply written ambiguously so that there’s nothing unconstitutional about its wording. However, if anyone tries to use the law to justify discrimination, courts could strike it down as written only because of extreme animus against the LGBT community.
“The language still exposes virtually every branch, office and agency of the government to litigation, which will require taxpayer funds to defend,” the American Civil Liberties Union’s Eunice Rho told MSNBC.
Wording of the bill is modeled after the Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law by President Bill Clinton. That law, though, passed by a bipartisan coalition, was not intended to encourage discrimination or limit anyone’s civil rights.
The bill awaits the governor’s signature.