Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant Signs Anti-LGBT Legislation

 TLDEF Condemns Sweeping New Discriminatory Law in Mississippi

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 8.01.38 PMNew York, NY – The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) responded to news that Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has signed anti-LGBT House Bill 1523 into law today.

The Mississippi Legislature passed the bill in a final vote yesterday. The measure allows individuals, religious organizations, and many businesses to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people based on purported “religious beliefs or moral convictions” that include opposition to marriage equality and transgender rights.

The law sanctions discrimination against LGBT Mississippians in employment, housing, healthcare and education, and specifically allows businesses that provide wedding-related services to deny services to LGBT people. The law also allows certain schools, employers and service providers to prohibit transgender people from using bathrooms and other sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity. It allows adoption agencies to refuse service to LGBT people and allows foster parents to impose harmful “conversion therapies” on LGBT youth.

Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman:

“With the stroke of a pen, Governor Phil Bryant has launched an assault on the basic humanity of Mississippi’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. This new law sanctions discrimination against an entire class of people under the guise of so-called ‘religious beliefs or moral convictions.’ It makes LGBT Mississippians vulnerable to discrimination in all areas of their lives, including in school, on the job, and in housing. It targets transgender youth and adults, allowing prohibitions on their use of bathrooms that match who they are as male and female. And it puts LGBT youth in foster care at risk of being subjected to discredited and damaging ‘conversion therapies’ that seek to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“The legislation is the latest in a wave of virulent anti-LGBT legislation in states across the nation, including North Carolina, which enacted its own sweeping anti-LGBT measure less than two weeks ago. National and local civil rights organizations are rightly challenging that law in federal court and numerous major corporations have condemned it. We join their chorus of opposition against legislation that paints a target on the backs of LGBT people, making them even more vulnerable to harassment and abuse.

“TLDEF will continue to stand with our community in solidarity against the Mississippi law, the North Carolina law, and all legislation that seeks to put our community in harm’s way. We will work side by side with our movement partners to fight these bills one by one.”

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5 thoughts on “Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant Signs Anti-LGBT Legislation

  1. So very sad these legislators are attacking our people in the USA. When will all American LGBTI finally have full Human and Civil rights like most other countries in the Western world.

  2. Of course, if you leave the state, that’s what they want; if you stay and suffer, that’s what they want. If you stay and fight for your rights, many people will support you. Not everyone is a fighter, though. Some people will get the heck out of Mississippi if they can, and just steer clear of other “anti” states, and who can blame them.

    It’s unbelievable how many people just can’t abide change, even if it’s for everyone’s good. Even if it’s inevitable.

  3. Dear Governor Bryant:

    No doubt you are experiencing some anxiety at the speedy, and overwhelmingly negative response to the HB1523 legislation you recently signed.  But I want to thank you and your Republican colleagues for setting a precedent that will influence my choice of locations for my new startup.  As a serial entrepreneur and dedicated secular humanist, I have long wanted to be able to reflect, in staffing my companies, my deeply-held conviction that believers in creationism – especially so-called “young-earth” creationists – lack the critical thinking skills that my company demands in order to succeed in the global economy in the 21st century.  I want candidates for my new company to confirm, in writing, that they do not believe in such magical thinking, and HB1523 provides the legal context for me, and other secular humanist employers, to screen job applicants who are not up to global standards.  After all, where is it written that only Christians can have “deeply-held convictions”?  I applaud you for opening up this door, and I will put the great state of Mississippi at the top of my list of domiciles.

    Of course, I am being (only somewhat) facetious.  I’ll wager there will one day be a case, likely in front of the Supreme Court, that follows my line of reasoning.  HB1523 has opened a Pandora’s Box that I am quite sure the citizens of Mississippi will regret.

    So let me leave you with a suggestion:  perhaps you and your Republican colleagues could re-think HB1523, and instead adopt a new state motto – “Defender of the Golden Rule”.  Much more populist, and Christian, than “Virtute et Armis”, don’t you think? 

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