Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ushers in broad discrimination against LGBTQ people in Mississippi

Court decision follows groundbreaking survey showing a majority of Americans oppose anti-LGBTQ laws like HB 1523

NEW YORK – Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, released a statement following the Firth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision yesterday to lift an injunction on HB 1523, granting Mississippians the ability to use so-called “religious exemptions” to deny LGBTQ people employment, housing, adoption rights, marriage licenses, and even services at a local business.

"LGBTQ people in Mississippi learned that they could be wrongly fired from their jobs, denied housing, and refused services at businesses just because someone wanted to use their so-called ‘religious exemption’ to discriminate against them. This kind of practice is wrong and against American values. Long-term momentum is on our side and the majority of Americans now oppose anti-LGBTQ discriminatory laws like HB 1523. It’s time that anti-LGBTQ elected officials in Mississippi listen to the people they represent rather than be remembered for being on the wrong side of history.”

Yesterday’s decision by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals follows a Public Religion Research Institute survey released just this week that showed that a majority of Americans oppose anti-LGBTQ measures like HB 1523 that use so-called “religious exemptions” to harm the LGBTQ community. Close to sixty-one percent of Americans oppose allowing small business owners to refuse to provide products or services to LGBTQ people on religious grounds.

Since the HB 1523 debate began, GLAAD has been on the ground in Mississippi working with local organizations like the Mississippi Gulf Coast Rainbow Center, the Spectrum Center, and Joshua Generation MCC to help accelerate acceptance for LGBTQ people in the state and protect them from discrimination. From launching a #MyMississippi campaign, a campaign geared to amplify voices of local LGBTQ people in the state; releasing a media resource guide on LGBTQ people living in the state; organizing “Southern Stories Tours” that included visits and events in Jackson, Hattiesburg, and Gulfport; to co-hosting and speaking at a rally against HB 1523 last December; GLAAD has been with LGBTQ Mississippians to fight back against anti-LGBTQ activism and will continue to complement and amplify their efforts.