May 2016 Church & State - May 2015

Miss. Adopts Sweeping Discrimination Measure

  AU admin

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.”

Americans United disagreed. In a statement to the media, AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn criticized the move.

“Mississippi is trying to legalize unequal treatment,” Lynn said. “This goes against everything the United States stands for. It’s reminiscent of an earlier time in the state’s history and must not be allowed to stand.”

AU, which had opposed the bill in the state legislature, asserts that it is vulnerable to a legal challenge.

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