On the heels of North Carolina’s recent new law sanctioning discrimination, the state of Mississippi has just raised the stakes by enacting a more restrictive anti-LGBT law of its own.
While it is hard to imagine a law that could out-bigot North Carolina’s, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant today put his signature on a bill that does just that. The new law would “allow the denial of services, goods, wedding products, medical treatment, housing, and employment to LGBT people.”
The law, with the Orwellian name “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” has met with sustained opposition from LGBT groups, businesses and the Mississippi Economic Council. They say the law sanctions discrimination against lesbians and gays.
It is only a matter of time before the backlash to this unconstitutional law begins. Just as was the case in North Carolina. Just as was the case in Indiana. But while the Indiana legislature had the good sense to “water-down” its so-called “religious freedom” bill, North Carolina has not yet felt the full economic pain to take remedial action. But they will, just as Mississippi will.
What is it about these Republican-controlled states?
For years, many Republican voters have been voting against their own economic interests. They vote for the party that favors tax cuts for the rich; eliminating social programs they rely on; and slashing funds for public education.
Now Republican-controlled statehouses are passing bills that will clearly hurt business within those states. As with blue-collar and low-income Republican voters, hot-button social issues are motivating the legislatures in these mostly southern states. In the case of these so-called “religious liberty” laws, it is opposition to newly acquired rights by gays, thanks to the Supreme Court, that is providing the impetus for these laws.
One gay rights advocacy group, Freedom for All Americans, dubbed the new Mississippi law “the nation’s worst piece of anti-LGBT legislation.” While that may be the case, for now, don’t bet against another Republican-controlled state upping the ante.
“This is a sad day for the state of Mississippi and for the thousands of Mississippians who can now be turned away from businesses, refused marriage licenses, or denied housing, essential services and needed care based on who they are,” said Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the ACLU of Mississippi.
It was Bobby Jindal who coined the phrase “stupid party” to describe today’s GOP.
It appears the party of stupid just can’t help itself.
Photo | bbc.com