Mississippi legislators pass bill making it legal to discriminate against gays
Legislators in Mississippi have passed a bill that would allow people to use their religion to justify discrimination.
The “religious liberty” bill stalled last month, with the House voting to send it to a study committee instead of passing it. However both bodies of Congress have approved a conference report on the bill, advancing it to Gov. Phil Bryant (R).
“Religious liberty” bills like the one vetoed in Arizona differ from other states’ “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” (RFRAs) because they extend religious protections to businesses. Mississippi’s bill has this same problem, because state law already defines a “person” to include “all public and private corporations.” Thus, if Bryant were to sign Mississippi’s bill into law, it would grant all businesses in the state a license to discriminate based on religious grounds.
Currently, Mississippi does not have any local or state nondiscrimination protections for members of the LGBT community. A business could use the bill to justify discrimination against anyone not protected by federal law.
In February, legislators in Kansas attempted to pass a similar bill. It was approved by the states’s House of Representatives, but died once it reached the Senate.
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