Belinda Carlisle to MS Governor: nothing less Christian than new discriminatory law

Belinda Carlisle is best known for her iconic pop career, both as a solo artist and co-founder of The Go-Gos. She also counts among her roles that of advocate and mom, and today, she is speaking out against Mississippi's harmful new anti-LGBT law in a letter to MS Governor Phil Bryant, who signed HB 1523 into law earlier this month.

In her letter, Belinda tells Gov. Bryant, "As the very proud mother of a gay child I can't imagine anything less Christian than using the law as a weapon against others," names LGBT Mississippians who are impacted by the law, and calls on the elected official to repeal HB 1523.

The "Heaven is a Place on Earth" singer will be performing in Mississippi this weekend, and in light of this "license to discriminate" law, considered cancelling her show in protest. After speaking with leading LGBT advocates on the ground in the Magnolia state with whom GLAAD has worked, Belinda re-committed to performing as a show of support for LGBT Mississippians, particularly trans people and people of color.

Belinda writes:

Governor Bryant, 

I am scheduled to perform in your great state this Saturday, however given the very recent anti-LGBTQ attacks that your administration has leveled against some of your own citizens I very nearly cancelled my appearance. After discussion with various LGBTQ groups, however, I've decided to go forward with the show in order to say a few things to those who live in the Magnolia State -- and I want to start off by addressing you directly.

As the very proud mother of a gay child I can't imagine anything less Christian than using the law as a weapon against others. Because of my career as a performer and the privilege that has brought to our family, my son will be all right, but the pain you're causing LGBTQ Mississippians is devastating, especially the transgender folks and LGBTQ people of color who will be most directly impacted by these attacks. Brave organizers like Kaylee -- a black transgender Mississippian -- and Brandiilyne -- a lesbian pastor in Mississippi -- are just two of the people who will be directly impacted by hateful bills like these. Their bravery in organizing against these attacks is stunning.

Nearly 30 years ago, I released a song titled "Heaven Is a Place on Earth." I was proud of the message of that song then and I continue to be proud of it today. Unfortunately, Governor Bryant, you and those around you are making life hell on earth for many Mississippians.

So I'll go forward with my show on Saturday and I'll use it as an opportunity to speak the truth about the bravery of people like Kaylee and Brandiilyne and so many others across your state who are resilient and loving and brave. Finally, it is my call, as a mother, that you bring a little bit of heaven to Mississippi by repealing HB1523.

Belinda Carlisle

Belinda's son, James Duke Mason, is a California-based politician and city official, as well as a vocal and active advocate for LGBT acceptance. James and Belinda have long been dedicated to bringing attention to the needs and experiences of LGBT people.


Rev. Brandiilyne Mangum-Dear, founder and award winning Pastor of Joshua Generation Metropolitan Community Church in Hattiesburg, said in a statement:

"We need a governor who has our best interest at heart. This bill not only alienates the LGBTQ community, but it also threatens the well-being of hundreds of thousands of families and children who depend on federal funding for food and shelter. There is nothing Christian about casting out those in need -- that, my dear governor, is the true sin of Sodom. You have an opportunity to shine a true light on this state by reversing your decision to sign HB 1523 and if you don't you will forever be remembered as the governor who cast this evil shadow of hate over our beautiful state. Again I ask you, would Jesus sign this bill? As people of faith, we both know that the answer to that question is.... no. Jesus spoke of loving thy neighbor, not discriminating against them. So tell me again, why are you?"

Kaylee Bradshaw, who serves as Administrative Assistant at Joshua Generation Metropolitan Community Church, also stated:

"Governor Bryant's consistent record of hateful legislation is both disappointing and heartbreaking. Yet again, he has yielded to out-of-state forces that are legislating hate everywhere from South Dakota to North Carolina to our dear, complicated Mississippi. As people of faith, we know that this effort is not of God -- and as a black transgender woman, I know that my destiny is not limited by this hateful act. My existence is my resistance -- and I will work every day to ensure that my LGBTQ family has a safe and welcoming community of faith to gather, to mourn, to celebrate, and to organize in the face of ignorance and hatred."

GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis said of the law:

"Governor Bryant has put the people and the economy of Mississippi at risk and damaged his state's reputation by signing this regressive anti-LGBT bill into law. If Gov. Bryant listened to the stories of Mississippians fired from jobs, refused service, and shunned from their families, then perhaps he might have a sense of why bills like HB 1523 devastate LGBT people and their families. But Gov. Bryant's attack on fairness will not deter us; the LGBT community will not stop demanding equality and full acceptance until everyone in Mississippi can live the life they love."

HB 1523 is one of many harmful anti-LGBT pieces of legislation to come up around the country. GLAAD has been speaking out against discriminatory laws in several states. GLAAD’s resource, "Debunking the 'Bathroom Bills Myth'" is a valuable resource for journalists and everyday people to understand the importance and impact of nondiscrimination bills, and ways to debunk falsehoods that often are raised in opposition to such bills. GLAAD is calling on media, both in Mississippi and nationally, to hold promoters of such discriminatory bills as HB 1523 accountable for false claims they have made.

LGBT advocates and media figures can also find background information about the LGBT community in Mississippi through GLAAD's guidebook on the state. GLAAD developed the resource with the ACLU of Mississippi and The PRISM Center.