A pretty awful thing happened last week.
A Mississippi House committee (House Judiciary B) passed a bill entitled “Protecting Freedom of Conscience From Government Discrimination Act.” The bill would allow state employees, religious associations, for-profit businesses, and individuals to refuse service to people based on their sexual orientation, gender, and beliefs on marriage.
The bill reads as follows: “The sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act are the belief or conviction that: (a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman; (b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and (c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”
Not sure what this means? This bill would allow state officials to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples, allow businesses to refuse trans customers, deny foster children homes in LGBTQ households, and more because it does not rely with their religious beliefs. So much for separation of church and state.
The bill still has to pass through the rest of the Mississippi House, but this first step proves that our country is moving further and further away from making this country a safe space for queer and trans people.
This is not the first time this has happened. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 28 states have introduced anti-LGBTQ legislation and doesn’t seem like it is stopping.
So what can you do about it? Read up, educate yourself as much as possible, and call your representative. Make your voice heard. Speak up for those whose voices are being forcibly silenced.