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Mississippi to Legalize Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

The bill would allow discrimination in the name of faith.

M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-Ignorance. The state you spelled on the playground as a child is developing a new reputation for all the wrong reasons thanks to a piece of legislation that's been called the "worst anti-LGBT law in America."

Called the Mississippi House Bill (HB) 1523, it grants individuals, businesses, and religious associations full reign to discriminate in the name of faith. HB1523 is cloaked under the deceptive title "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act" and was signed by Gov. Phil Bryant in April of last year before being stopped by an injunction in June 2016. Now, it's likely to become the law of the land now that it's been upheld under the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Related | Supreme Court Takes on Case of Baker Who Refused to Make Gay Cake

How blatant and disgusting is the anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the bill? Let's break it down. With HB 1523, organizations won't get in trouble for enforcing their belief that "Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman," "Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage," and "Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth."

Even worse than that is the fact that every state entity or employee can also discriminate freely. That means they'd be able to refuse to provide services for same-sex weddings, allow business owners to adopt anti-transgender restroom policies, and allow state employees to recuse themselves from granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The law could still technically be stopped but, under a presidential administration that ignored Pride month completely, the hope for a positive resolution for the LGBTQ community is not good.

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Chris Thomas