H.B. 1523, deceptively titled “The Religious Liberty Accommodations Act,” enables almost any individual or organisation to discriminate against LGBTQ Mississippians at work, at school and in their communities. HRC Mississippi State Director Rob Hill issued the following statement in response to U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves’ decision not to block the bill from taking effect next week on July 1:
“H.B. 1523 represents the worst of Mississippi. If allowed to go into effect next week, it will lead to widespread discrimination against LGBTQ Mississippians at work, school and in family life. The business community — including local and national companies and organizations such as Nissan, General Electric, the Mississippi Economic Council, the Mississippi Manufacturing Association and more — has roundly condemned this dangerous bill. It will do harm to our community, our families and our economy and we must not allow it to stand. In the coming weeks, HRC will continue our ongoing efforts to ensure this bill is ultimately struck down or repealed.”
Earlier this year, hundreds of fair-minded Mississippians — including representatives from faith communities and civil rights organisations — rallied against the bill outside Gov. Phil Bryant’s residence alongside HRC and its allies. H.B. 1523 will go into law on July 1here.
As LGBTQ people across the state brace for H.B. 1523 to take effect, media report the Ku Klux Klan has flyers several communities with threatening anti-LGBTQ leaflets.
Hill added, “This is another example of just how dangerous this hateful H.B 1523 law is; it sends a message that LGBTQ people are second class citizens in our own state, and it lends credence to groups that prey on hate, ignorance and fear.”
In 2014, HRC launched Project One America, an initiative geared towards advancing social, institutional and legal equality in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. HRC Mississippi continues to work to advance equality for LGBTQ Mississippians who have no state level protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations. Through HRC Mississippi, we are working toward a future of fairness every day — changing hearts, minds and laws toward achieving full equality.