Mississippi may pass 'license to discriminate' law today

Today, the Mississippi State Senate is expected to vote on HB 1523, an anti-LGBT "license to discriminate" bill that's already passed  with overwhelming support in the state House and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Also known as the "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act" by its creators, HB 1523 "creates sweeping exemptions allowing people and businesses to discriminate against transgender people and same-sex couples based on their religious or moral beliefs," according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. You can read the 13-page bill in full here. Another bill in Mississippi that would target transgender people by making it a felony to use a single-sex bathroom that does not correspond to your assigned birth sex, known as HB 1258, was introduced to the legislature but has not moved out of committee.

The New Civil Rights Movement reports that Mississippi's Governor Phil Bryant has already stated he will sign the bill, should it come to his desk, and writes:

The bill not only gives schools and businesses the right to bar trans people from using restrooms and locker rooms according to their gender identity, but also specifically allows counselors, doctors and others to refuse treatment to trans people...After the bill cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, the Human Rights Campaign noted that it would also allow foster parents to subject LGBT children to 'conversion therapy,' in addition to legalizing 'Kim Davis-like discrimination' on the part of government employees.

The outlet also notes, "It's not just LGBT people who'd be affected. HB 1523 would also open the door to discrimination against anyone who's had extramarital sex — a category of people which, according to one study, includes 95 percent of Americans."

The Southern Povery Law Center tweeted the portion of the article that breaks down the pervasive impact of discrimination within the bill. 

GLAAD has been speaking out against discriminatory laws in several states, including most recently Georgia, North Carolina, and South Dakota. 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 ask media 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.



Tweet your opposition to Mississippi’s ‘license to discriminate’ bill using the hashtag #NoHB1523. Follow GLAAD on social media for regular updates about HB 1523.