Mississippi’s Controversial Religious Freedom Bill

Currently popular are the so-called religious freedom bills– statewide proposals that ensure that individuals and businesses may operate in keeping with their faith.  The bill is called the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.” Supporters call it a bill that protects religious freedom, while critics say it gives sanction to open discrimination against LGBT people.  In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant signed the Bill into Law. HB1523 promises that the state government will not punish people who refuse to provide services to people because of a religious opposition to same-sex. The law protects, among other things, religious organizations who fire or discipline employees. The law goes into effect July 1 2016.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia recently vetoed a religious liberties bill in his state. Deal stated, “I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia, of which I and my family have been a part of for all of our lives.” The Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner are two major companies that suggested Deal veto the bill.

North Carolina took drastic and rapid measure by mandating that bathrooms at state facilities be separated by sex as assigned at birth; local governments cannot create their own anti-discrimination ordinances; and cities and counties are blocked from raising minimum wages. PayPal’s CEO has cancelled plans to expand into Charlotte, N.C. in response to the new law. Dan Schulman, CEO for PayPal, said in a statement that it would be “untenable” to move forward in a state where all employees would “not have equal rights under the law.”