On the long march to equality, it seems we, as a country, keep taking one step forward and two steps back. Actually, make that three or four steps back.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is certainly doing his part to hold us back after signing a bill into law on Tuesday that will allow businesses to deny service to gay couples.
Dubbed the “Religious Liberty Accommodations Act,” any public or private business in the state can legally refuse service to LGBT customers based on the business owner's religious background or beliefs.
Obviously, this measure is utter garbage and has garnered well-deserved criticism from several gay-rights activist groups and businesses. Jennifer Riley-Collins, Executive Director of the ACLU of Mississippi, said in a statement,
This is a sad day for the state of Mississippi and for the thousands of Mississippians who can now be turned away from businesses, refused marriage licenses, or denied housing, essential services and needed care based on who they are. This bill flies in the face of the basic American principles of fairness, justice and equality and will not protect anyone's religious liberty.
Meanwhile, conservative groups and religious leaders have thrown their support behind the bill. Not only is this new law outrightly promoting bigotry, it is also absurd on a purely entrepreneurial level. Do conservatives hate gay people so much that they won't take their money? That certainly seems to be the case.
Sadly, this bill doesn't come as much of a surprise considering studies have shown Mississippi is one of the least welcoming states for gay couples.
Do everyone a favor and learn how you can support the LGBT community in both big ways and small.