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Mississippi's "License to Discriminate" law
to give businesses the freedom to discriminate

Part 14:
2014-APR: Even more reactions to
SB 2681, the Mississippi religious
freedom (to discriminate) bill
.

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The acronym LGBT refers to the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgender community

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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Reactions to the passage of the bill by the public (continued):

The bill was signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant (R) on APR-01.

Another comment to the LegiScan article:

  • B.A. Robinson, the author of this essay, couldn't resist posting my own comment to the LegiScan article:

    "It is strange how so many states have passed human rights legislation to force store owners, professional photographers, etc. to treat others decently and to follow the Golden Rule that Jesus cited. Meanwhile, Mississippi -- the most religious state in the U.S. -- passed legislation to allow store owners, professional photographers, etc. to treat potential customers like sub-humans while citing their religious beliefs as a defense.

    Religious freedom to believe as one wishes, to assemble with other believers, to proselytize freely, etc. is very important, but the religious "freedom to discriminate" against others should be condemned, not encouraged." 2

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2014-APR: Pro-equality/anti-discrimination promotion by Equality Mississippi:

window sticker Mitchell Moore, who owns Campbell's Bakery in Fondren, MS, decided to respond in a positive way to Mississippi's new "Religious Freedom Restoration Act." He created this design for a window sticker that store owners who oppose discrimination can place on their store window. Hundreds of business in Mississippi are attaching the stickers in prominent places.

The Equality Mississippi Foundation will list the names of participating businesses on their web site. Foundation president Benson Hill said:

"We want to be able to reward businesses that are committed to equality. Through this program, customers will know which companies are dedicated to providing their goods and services to all, without discrimination of any kind." 3

If any other state passes a "license to discriminate" law like the one in MIssissippi, it is quite probable that similar window stickers will appear in businesses throughout their state as well.

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Change.org started a petition to repeal bill SB 2681:

That web site allows individuals to post petitions. Visitors to the web site can then offer their support and, optionally, leave a comment. According to the "Repeal the discriminatory SB 2681, Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act" petition: 4

"Although ... [Governor Phil Bryant] still maintains that the bill does not open doors to potential discrimination, he invited religious leaders, and  anti-gay leader Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council to a private bill signing ceremony for the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act. ..."

"[The Act] requires that 'state action shall not burden a person’s right to the exercise of religion'  by compelling 'any action contrary to a person’s exercise of religion.' The bill defines 'exercise of religion' to mean 'the ability to act in a manner that is substantially motivated by one’s sincerely held religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief'."

"This means that a business could legally discriminate against people if it claims that such discrimination is motivated by their 'sincerely held religious belief.' This bill legitimizes discrimination and segregation in Mississippi state law."  

The petition received 4,387 supporters.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Reid Wilson, "Mississippi passes Arizona-style religious freedom bill," Washington Post, 2014-APR-01, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  2. "Mississippi Senate Bill 2581," LegiScan, 2014-APR-03, at: http://legiscan.com/
  3. Melanie Deas, "Promoting Equality in Business," Equality Mississippi, 2014-APR-10, at: http://www.equalitymississippi.org/
  4. "Repeal the discriminatory SB 2681, Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act," Change.org, undated, at: https://www.change.org/

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Copyright © 2014 & 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Originally posted: 2014-MAR-07
Latest update: 2016-NOV-04
Author: B.A. Robinson

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