Mississippi business leaders urge Governor not to sign anti-gay law amid boycott fears

The Governor of Mississippi has been warned against signing a new law to discriminate against LGBT people by business leaders fearing a boycott.

Republicans across the US are attempting to push a new wave of state level anti-LGBT legislation in response to the introduction of same-sex marriage last year.

The right-wingers claim the laws will ‘protect’ business owners who oppose equal marriage because of their religion – but they achieve this by voiding anti-discrimination protections – in some cases actually explicitly permitting discrimination against gay couples.

The Governor of Georgia agreed to veto such a law last month when it made it to his desk – while North Carolina has been subjected to lawsuits and boycotts after Republican Pat McCrory signed it into law.

The latest battleground is in Mississippi – where possibly the most extreme law yet passed the state legislature last week.

House Bill 1523 goes even further by permitting people to discriminate based on sexual orientation in “any employment-related decision” and “any decision concerning the sale, rental, [or] occupancy of a dwelling” as long as it’s based on “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” – meaning it would be explicitly legal to sack gays and evict them, as long as it’s what Jesus told you to do.

The bill also bans the state from taking any action whatsoever against a person or business “on the basis that the person has provided or declined to provide [services]” to gay couples.

The bill is currently sitting on the desk of Phil Bryant, the Governor of Mississippi, as he decides whether to sign it into law.

Ahead of the decision, campaigners have warned that the state will see a strong backlash if the law is signed.

Jay C Moon of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association warned: “It is clear that many of our members find that HB 1523 would violate their corporate policies expressly providing for an inclusive workplace environment that supports diversity.

“This is not a bill that the MMA supports and we hope that it will not find its way into law.”
Mississippi business leaders urge Governor not to sign anti-gay law amid boycott fears

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said: “HB 1523 is bad for Mississippians, bad for businesses and bad for the state’s economy. That’s why a growing chorus of citizens and companies across this state are calling on Governor Bryant to veto this discriminatory and deplorable bill which would put his own constituents at risk of harassment and discrimination.

“We urge Governor Bryant to make the right decision and stand on the right side of history by declaring there is no place for discrimination in Mississippi.”