John M. Becker

Mississippi Softens 'Right to Discriminate' Bill

Filed By John M. Becker | February 27, 2014 7:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Arizona, Mississippi, religious liberty, religious privilege, right to discriminate, special rights

mississippi_simple.gifAfter a bill to give people and business owners special rights to discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of religion failed spectacularly in Arizona, lawmakers in Mississippi softened a similar bill that could allow the same kind of segregation in that state.

Queerty's Matt Baume reports:

Mississippi's bill was actually a lot worse than Arizona's, since the discrimination was hidden away. Legislators thought that they were voting on a bill to add "In God We Trust" to the state seal, which is problematic enough as it is. But then the ACLU pointed out that the obscure language would actually have allowed anyone to disregard the Civil Rights Act.

The Mississippi bill would also have allowed government agencies to hire and fire on the basis of religion. Of course, Mississippi already permits all employers to fire people for being gay, so it's unclear what this law would have changed -- other than making the discrimination even more overt.

Baume also points out that the revisions of the bill only address some of its problems:

A revised version of the bill now refers only to actions taken by the government, rather than applying to private businesses. That actually still seems pretty bad! Does that mean that cops can refuse to take a domestic violence report if they believe the Bible requires women to submit to men?

Watch this space for updates on this and other proposed "turn away the gays" bills across the country.

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