House Bill 1523 has been the subject of intense criticism in Mississippi. Proposed as a religious freedom law, the bill would allow private businesses to deny service based on religious grounds.
The bill predictably garnered criticism from gay rights groups, who argue the bill gives a license to discriminate.
Similar bills have been popping up all around the country. The most recent to be voted down was in Georgia, who caved to outside pressure from Hollywood studios. But Mississippi just opted to vote in the opposite direction — in the direction of freedom of religious expression.
Mississippi’s governor signed a law Tuesday that allows religious groups and some private businesses to refuse service to gay couples based on religious beliefs.
The measure’s stated intention is to protect those who believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman, that sexual relations should only take place inside such marriages, and that male and female genders are unchangeable.
The measure allows churches, religious charities and privately held businesses to decline services to people whose lifestyles violate their religious beliefs. Individual government employees may also opt out, although the measure says governments must still provide services.
Here’s a copy of the Governor’s statement after signing the bill:
I have signed House Bill 1523. Full statement: pic.twitter.com/00DbgQADFt
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) April 5, 2016
I’ve always wondered; what would happen if a Muslim baker were forced to bake a bacon cake for a gay wedding? Would liberals defend the right to refuse service if doing so meant they at least weren’t “Islamophobic”? Just a thought.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]