Cheers were heard nation wide as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage last June. However, for every step America takes forward, there are some actions that cause us to go two steps backward.
This past month, Mississippi passed a highly controversial bill allowing both private and public businesses to deny services to gay and transgender people based on said organizations religious beliefs. These services could range from wedding planning to adoptions.
In addition, these organizations have the ability to decide whether to hire, fire or terminate an individual of the LGBTQA community if their inconsistent with the organization’s religious beliefs.
America prides itself on being the “land of equal opportunity,” but when it allows legislation such as this one, it’s hard to believe. It boils my blood to see people discriminated like this. This form of bigotry shouldn’t be tolerated. Imagine how it must feel to get fired from your current job or not be offered a position because of your sexual orientation? What has this country come to when it can sit idly by and not intervene when such injustices are taking place?
Sen. Jennifer Branning said, “It gives protection to those in the state who cannot in a good conscience provide services for a same-sex marriage. I don’t think this bill is discriminatory. It takes no rights away.” I cannot comprehend how she could say that with a straight face. The definition of discrimination is “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age and sex.”
That is exactly what the bill is implementing towards the LGBTQA community by denying them of a multitude of services, that would be available to them if they were heterosexual. Some of these services are highly needed in this community.
According to CNN, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation addressed that this bill would take away “suicide hotlines” from the LGBTQA community. To further add to this travesty, they could also be forced into conversion therapy.
This bill has caused uproar not only across the LGBTQA community and among civil rights activists, but in major companies as well. ABC news reportedcorporations such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Yahoo,to name a few, have publicly stated their strong stance against the bill.
Some of the companies have even discussed reducing investment in the state. USA Today stated that General Electric has called on Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant to repeal the law. I feel that Mississippi needs to see that not only are civil rights groups fighting against the bill, but these huge corporations as well.
Mississippi is giving people with radical religious beliefs the power to decide the fate of thousands of people in the state. Despite what religious beliefs one might have, people are born a certain way and there’s no changing that. The discrimination the LGBTQ community is currently facing is no different than the discrimination African Americans faced back in the 1950’s and 60’s and still continue to face, as well as the same discrimination that undocumented immigrants and Muslims face today.
Martin Luther King once said, “Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.” If we let a bill such as this pass, what’s to stop other like-minded states to pass bills in the same vein? What if this is the beginning to many more injustices to would affect more than the just LGBTQA community?