A so-called religious freedom bill approved by the Mississippi Senate Judiciary A Tuesday has drawn strong criticism from the Human Rights Campaign Mississippi.
The legislation, House Bill 1523, could push Mississippi to the forefront of a national debate over whether businesses and organizations can treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people different from the straight population based on religious beliefs. Supporters say HB 1523 is designed to prevent businesses and people from compromising religious beliefs.
In calling for the Senate to kill the bill, the Human Rights Campaign Mississippi said the legislation would allow open discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in some of the most important aspects of their lives, including at work, at school, in their family life and more.
HRC Mississippi director and former United Methodist pastor Rob Hill called the bill “vile” and said advancing it sends “the disturbing message that it’s OK to treat people differently because of who they are.”
Under H.B. 1523, religion could be used by most any individual or organization to justify discrimination against LGBT people, single mothers, and unmarried couples, among others, Hill said.
The measure went to the Senate after passing the House by 80-39 last month.
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