Under this unprecedented religious refusal law, Mississippi state employees could refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, public school counselors could turn away LGBTQ or questioning youth in crisis, and health care providers could deny transgender people access to healthcare at any time, among just a few examples of potential discrimination.
The ACLU of Mississippi, Campaign for Southern Equality, Freedom for All Americans, Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign, Mississippi Center for Justice, Mississippi Rising Coalition, and The Spectrum Center of Hattiesburg, MS released the following joint statement regarding today’s development: “The nation’s most extreme anti-LGBTQ law is now in effect in Mississippi, and it will bring undeniable damage to the lives of thousands of Mississippians, paving the way for deep harm and discrimination.
Yet state governments and local school districts, like the Biloxi Public School District, have worked to censor speech and ban books. We believe in a society where ideas are openly disseminated, discussed, and debated.
HB1523 specifically allows some residents with anti-LGBTQ beliefs to refuse service to married same-sex couples, people who have sex outside of marriage, and transgender people.
The ACLU of Mississippi issues the following statement, which can be attributed to Jennifer Riley Collins, Executive Director for the ACLU of Mississippi: “Since our founding, the ACLU has opposed censorship in all forms – from books and radio to film, television, and the internet.
We have consistently fought to make sure all have the right to say, think, read, and write whatever they want without fear of government reprisal.
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No one should be denied an opportunity or services because of their gender identity. Senators' effort to urge the DOJ to reverse its position on the meaning of Title VII.