Discrimination | Mississippi | News

Mississippi House Panel Advances Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Mississippi's House Judiciary B Civil Subcommittee today advanced SB 2681, an Arizona-style 'religious freedom' bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays based on religious beliefs, the ACLU of Mississippi reports via Twitter.

The bill now goes to the full House.

MississippiLast week, after it was reported that the bill had been stripped of many of its discriminatory provisions, Deep South Progressive reported that the ugly parts of the bill still remain:

Those key parts of the bill, which LGBT activists feared would legitimize discrimination by businesses that claim “sincerely held religious belief” as the motivating factor, remain unchanged. That’s contrary to previous reports that said the bill had been amended to only include the section that would add “In God We Trust” to the Mississippi state seal.

Despite that, leaders of the state business community were declaring victory Wednesday night, saying that the bill addressed the concerns of the business community. The Mississippi Economic Council (MEC), said that SB 2681, as amended, “provides both positive clarification and focused direction so that the amended bill addresses only actions by government, not private businesses or individuals.”

STOP 2681 tweeted that "Jud B passed an amendment to add the word "substantial" so that any burden must be a substantial burden....Bill has passed out of committee with an additional amendment to require that any action be a state action."

If anyone can further enlighten on the contents of the bill at this point, please do so in the comments.


Feed This post's comment feed


  1. How do they know who is gay? Or is it enough that they have a deeply held religious belief about who is and is not gay? I'm confused.

    Posted by: Jason Macbride | Mar 4, 2014 11:10:02 AM

  2. If Mississippi lawmakers are determined to discriminate against the gay citizens of their state then a full boycott of all economic activity in that State is called for. Purchase absolutely NOTHING from the State of Mississippi. Withdraw any and all funding you may be sending to the State and refuse to book any business or tourist travel.

    Let Mississippi lawmakers know right up front what is at stake when you discriminate against your own citizens.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Mar 4, 2014 11:11:05 AM

  3. Let these states have their dark ages, let's cut off all the federal funds we send them and build a wall keeping them down there, use the money we get back from the net-takers to move openminded people up to the real USA as well as continue to figure out want to house all our poor, and provide healthcare for people. We should have never taught them to use outhouses (http://rockefeller100.org/exhibits/show/health/eradicating-hookworm), it made them think they were sentiant.

    Posted by: Nathan | Mar 4, 2014 11:11:57 AM

  4. I see the Towleroad proganda-machine is still in high-gear. Can the article's title be any more slanted? "anti-gay 'Religious Freedom' bill"?

    Let people live in peace. Take your business elsewhere if they won't cater your wedding. It's not that difficult to do. Stop being a bunch of haters. The hatred on this website is incredible.

    I'm a gay Christian, but as I've been going to this site for the past two years, it's driving me (and I suspect others) more and more away from the "gay rights" movement. It's so filled with bitterness and hatred and antagonism, especially towards Christians, that it makes me feel dirty and wanting to take a shower everytime I leave this website. I've stopped frequenting other "gay news" websites for that very reason.

    Please stop the bitterness and hatred. It's unattractive and turns people (gay and straight) off.

    Posted by: Jon | Mar 4, 2014 11:30:03 AM

  5. Of course, they'll still be doing business with their cousins.

    Posted by: Jack M | Mar 4, 2014 11:30:12 AM

  6. @ JON, You are a Self Hating Uncle Tom. A Gay Christian? Give me a break. Stop believing in made-up Fantasies and Grow Up!

    Posted by: elwoodl | Mar 4, 2014 11:33:44 AM

  7. Jon makes it sound like this is only about wedding cakes. Wait until restaurants wont serve you, hotels won't rent to you, taxis will not pick you up, barbers will not cut your hair and see how peaceful you feel.

    Posted by: Bubba | Mar 4, 2014 11:36:55 AM

  8. Me thinks "Jon" has been a Christian for too long to recognize the incessant hatred his fellow Christians are propagandizing about the gay community. And to him I say, "Please stop the bitterness and hatred...it's unattractive and turns people (gay and straight) off".

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Mar 4, 2014 11:46:28 AM

  9. I actually hope this becomes law: a total boycott of the state followed by a Supreme Court smack-down are the only things that will stop this kind of nonsense.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Mar 4, 2014 11:49:24 AM

  10. @Jon - "Quisling." Look it up.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Mar 4, 2014 11:51:02 AM

  11. What else can you expect from a state flying the confederate flag? A state that is always last in everything, except in poverty or teen pregnancy rates.

    Posted by: Steve | Mar 4, 2014 12:22:25 PM

  12. Think of social progress & evolution as a train. Massachusetts and Vermont will always be the engine of that train, and Mississippi and Alabama will always be the caboose. ALWAYS. Women's rights, civil rights, interracial marriage, gay rights, all of it. How sad for them.

    Posted by: Brick | Mar 4, 2014 12:36:11 PM

  13. In a state with the highest teen pregnancy rate and nearly 25% high school dropout rate, the legislature has much more to be doing than passing legislation to allow gay discrimination, get off your bible thumping asses and do something relevant for the young people in your pathetically backward state, at least attempt to join this century.

    Posted by: lk | Mar 4, 2014 12:39:53 PM

  14. Unfortunately, this anti gay pro business law is generated by the right wing legislation mill, ALEC. It's the same legislation being promoted by ALEC in many states, including by, recently, Lynn Luker Alec member and Idaho legislator. Check out further info and links on ALEC legislation at my blog

    And, if you'd like to see some gays bussed off in a prison bus in Idaho today, check out the videos and articles on Add the Words, at the Idaho Statesman online.

    Posted by: Chuck | Mar 4, 2014 12:46:40 PM

  15. When will all of these "Christians" start to pass laws to refuse service to adulterers and divorcees? What about letting bastard children go to school with children who were made as God instructed? If these people really believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God, then you cannot pick and choose which teachings you keep. How many wedding cakes are made for people who are not virgins, and second weddings? Last time I checked the Baptist Church does require a Dr.s proof that a girl is a virgin before they will marry them. That is clearly a sin! These are laws made by cafeteria Christians who pick and choose what they want to justify their bigotry.

    Posted by: Reacenyc | Mar 4, 2014 12:56:02 PM

  16. One of the big differences here (from the Arizona case) is that our side had quite a lot of leverage in Arizona that we will not likely have in Mississippi. Mississippi is never going to host the Super Bowl. It is not a big tourist destination. There are few, if any, billion dollar international corporations with facilities there. There are no large cities there to be pockets of blue in the sea of red. In short, the world doesn't care what goes on in Mississippi. And Mississippi politicians will probably use their isolation to the advantage of the conservative Christian right. This state may be a national punchline for its poverty and lack of education, but that's all going to work to their advantage this time.

    Posted by: Jere | Mar 4, 2014 1:27:38 PM

  17. A boycott of the lucrative gulf coast casinos of gulfport and biloxi would be effective. I'd think those mississippi businesses would rather not have the bad publicity this will brings.

    Posted by: woody | Mar 4, 2014 2:04:20 PM

  18. Correct me if I'm wrong, Woody, but my sense is that the customer base for the gulf coast casinos is mainly locals who live within a few hours of those towns. Do people fly in from all over the country or world to visit those casinos? If the LGBT community had enough allies in the region to make a boycott effective, this law would probably not be an issue in the first place. As it is, I doubt very much that Mississippi would feel any kind of tourism boycott from the LGBT community. Or probably any other community you might name.

    Posted by: Jere | Mar 4, 2014 2:40:24 PM

  19. I was born in Mississippi and as a slowly-aware teenager I watched the unbelievable violence and hatred toward black people...and now it's the same thing toward gay folks. Most of my family still lives there and, even though they know all about me and accept me completely, none of them understands why I won't move back, especially (and sadly) my mom. I've tried to explain to her that I would lose almost every right and privilege as a citizen that I now treasure 2000 miles away.

    What I find amazing is that most Mississippians are all about praising Jesus and the conflicting emotions based on a love and fear of God and then they turn right around and heap scorn and abuse and discrimination towards anyone who doesn't practice their faith or their heterosexual lifestyle. It's a very unpleasant state, very hypocritical, and will always remain last as far as manifesting any measurable progress.

    Posted by: Bryan L | Mar 4, 2014 2:43:22 PM

  20. Mississippi has some pockets of tourism, like the Gulf Coast and Natchez. A lot of those tourist dollars come from LGBT people.

    Posted by: Clayton | Mar 4, 2014 3:19:58 PM

  21. Statement from the Campaign for Southern Equality:

    Concerns remain that “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (SB 2681) Could Legalize Discrimination In Mississippi, as Amended Version Heads to House Floor

    Jackson, MS (March 4, 2014) -- This morning the Mississippi House Judiciary B Committee voted to pass an amended version of Senate Bill SB 2681, the “Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” Substantive portions of the bill remain unchanged and the bill could still open the door for legalized discrimination against LGBT Mississippians and visitors to the state. The bill now heads to a vote by the House, which has until March 14 to take the measure up.

    “We have serious concerns about the ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act - it’s clear that this extreme bill is about legalizing discrimination, not protecting religious freedoms,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE), which promotes LGBT rights across the South. “Even in its amended form, SB 2681 is still bad for business and bad for Mississippi families. LGBT advocates, allies, business and faith leaders will continue to call on their legislators to vote against the bill.”

    This development follows a week of a rising tide of opposition by Mississippi faith leaders, businesses, newspaper editorial boards, and citizens from across the state. Last week Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona vetoed similar legislation because of concerns that it was too broad and could legalize discrimination. Nationally, leaders from across the political aisle - including Sen. John McCain and Mitt Romney - have voiced opposition to bills like this, as have major corporations such as Delta Airlines.

    Posted by: Lindsey Simerly | Mar 4, 2014 3:55:54 PM

  22. Jon. Go hate yourself. Your church will show you how.

    Posted by: jeff | Mar 4, 2014 6:23:15 PM

  23. Do you have to wear a pink triangle on your shirt, too?

    Posted by: P. Sturm | Mar 4, 2014 6:25:16 PM

  24. "Sincerely held religious..." zzz

    Want to really hate people in this world !


    Posted by: Albert | Mar 4, 2014 7:16:58 PM

  25. Hey Jon,

    You have it all wrong. Ask yourself when was the last time any gay person or group demanded a law to discriminate against religious people.
    Also, what if every store or business in a town or state simply refused service to gay people - which is illegal (because businesses are not private clubs)...what would gay people do? Just eat dirt and die?

    Grow up and then grow some balls. That's what your Jesus would do.

    Posted by: Albert | Mar 4, 2014 7:19:41 PM

  26. 1 2 »

Post a comment


« «Liza Minnelli Reveals What She Really Thought of Ellen's Drag Queen Joke at the Oscars: VIDEO« «