Is it 1866 or 2016? Seems like an odd question, but the recent passage of legislation in Mississippi and its signing into law by Gov. Phil Bryant — effective July 1 — may just be one of the biggest travesties since the passage of Jim Crow laws by the Southern States following their defeat in the Civil War.
Anyone following the debate over the protection of religious freedom is either feeling victorious or shaking their head at this moment. In essence, these pieces of legislation shrouded by the “protection of religious freedom” are anything but, as they are nothing more than discrimination dressed in sheep’s clothing.
Mississippi’s new law is the most far reaching and discriminatory to date.
Unlike other states, such as North Carolina recently, have restricted their discrimination of American citizens to the LGBT community. Mississippi went one step further, virtually legislating morality and removing some of the guaranteed protections of its citizens by going after the heterosexual community as well. Their stellar amendment makes it more than acceptable to discriminate against nearly anyone who is unmarried, much less a member of the LGBT community.
Mississippi’s version of what should be called “The Pharisee’s Mandate” as opposed to any protection of religion, goes further than any law to date when it comes to same sex marriage.
Here is a partial list of those who may now deny services to a same sex couple in the heart of Dixie: DJs, photographers and videographers, poets, wedding planners, printers and publishers, florists, dressmakers, cake or pastry artists, venue rental companies, limousine and car rental companies, jewelry sales and service firms, and religious organizations.
Gov. Bryant has been quoted as saying it does nothing to undo the federal mandate concerning same sex marriage, but isn’t that the same argument that was made by the Southern states concerning Jim Crow? Sure, African-Americans were allowed to vote, as long as they could pay a poll tax or pass literacy exams, etc.
It appears to be a sham and is, especially when there is no need for these states to pass protection of religion legislation when that is a guaranteed right. Want to take it one step further, as Mississippi did?
This law will allow clerks and their deputies to be provided a process for recusing themselves from licensing marriages, and judges, magistrates, justices of the peace and their deputies will be given a similar process for recusing themselves from performing marriages, based on their religious beliefs.
And how much of it is truly about religion and it is nothing more than a veiled attempt to remove any opportunity for these citizens to exercise their rights? How do you get rid of same sex marriage? You make it possible for everyone to deny them a service, that’s how.
Oh, and by the way, it also allows medical professionals, hospitals and doctors to refuse care to gay couples on the basis of religious beliefs as well. Gee, isn’t that swell. If we can’t keep you from living the way they want you to, why they’ll keep you from living.
And if you are not a member of the LGBT community you should be afraid — very afraid — as there is one little piece of this bill you need to be aware of as it condemns you morally. Are you heterosexual and living in sin — you know, shacking up?
You are now under the same microscope as this law allows any business to refuse you service based on your living arrangements, as it is immoral and outside the scope of their religious beliefs.
Welcome to the world of ignorant and prejudiced discrimination in the Land of the Free, where the pursuit of happiness and liberty are slowly being strangled under the guise of religious protection.
So basically, it comes down to this in many states, and the number is growing as the Conservative, zealot, Evangelical Right does an end run on your rights: If you are not a Christian in good standing, based on whoever is behind the counter at the time, you have fewer rights and those rights will be under attack in the near future.