The Mississippi legislature has been called “backwards” and compared to hissing possums.
Unfortunately, Mississippi will again bear the brunt of ridicule. House Bill 1523, if signed into law, allows state employees, and other entities, to discriminate against other citizens based upon a “sincerely held religious belief” or “moral conviction.” This means that a State employee whose job is to issue marriage licenses, for instance, can refuse because they do not approve of your spouse.
The intent is to prevent persons from entering into a same-sex marriage in the Hospitality State. Incidentally, the United States Supreme Court found that marriage is a fundamental right under the Constitution. This bill, which seeks to infringe on that RIGHT also goes much further.
If the State Employee does not want to issue you a license they can refuse for a same-sex marriage, can refuse if you were previously divorced, can refuse if you had sex out of wedlock, and I am sure there are other Leviticus-based refusals.
This bill is simply pandering. It affords no real protections to any class in need of protection. It allows discrimination under the guise of faith. A faith which requires that we love our neighbor as ourselves, and teaches us that the one without sin may cast the first stone. It is an affront to the law.
This bill, if passes, guarantees the State will be sued and Mississippi will spend tens of thousands of dollars defending an indefensible position, to protect a class not in need of protection, to solve a problem that does not exist.
This is another example of Mississippi striving to fulfill her stereotypical destiny.
Matthew Thompson is an Adjunct Professor at MC Law and a Divorce Attorney encouraging you to believe in your beliefs, but follow the law.
(601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms