A Mississippi law that purported to defend “religious freedom” by allowing state officials and others to discriminate against LGBT residents was scheduled to go into effect today. That won’t be happening, thanks to a federal court ruling.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed a broadly worded bill into law in April that allows government employees, corporations, individuals, healthcare providers and non-profit organizations to use religion as a justification to discriminate against same-sex couples, single mothers, divorcees and anyone who has had sex outside of marriage.
According to National Public Radio, Bryant claimed on Twitter that he signed the bill, H.B. 1523, “to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions...from discriminatory action by state government.”
The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that public schools may not impose religion on students, but some school administrators apparently don’t care.
Earlier this week, the Rankin County (Miss.) School District was sued in federal court for sanctioning evangelism during three mandatory assemblies at Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood. Attorneys with the American Humanist Association (AHA) charge that Principal Charles Frazier and other school officials coerced students to attend events that featured a fundamentalist Christian video, proselytizing and prayer.
The Supreme Court ruled against government-sponsored prayer in public schools half a century ago, but some politicians still don’t get it.
In a speech to students on Tuesday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said he fondly remembers organized prayers during his school years and thinks the practice ought to be restored.