BY DAVID MIXNER
While it seems like all of America rose up to oppose Arizona's attempt to use 'faith' as a reason to deny LGBT Americans public accommodations, Mississippi has just passed a very similar, if not tougher law that the Governor has signed. The quiet across America has been deafening. Maybe it is because activists knew we had a chance in Arizona and almost no chance to stop it in Mississippi.
Actually the LGBT community and our allies seem more upset about a CEO and his $1,000 contribution against marriage than this new law.
Given its history, maybe it is appropriate that Mississippi become the first state to reinstate a form of segregation.
Am I being too tough in using the world segregation? Am I dishonoring the efforts to end such a plague in the 1960's?
When anyone can deny me the right to eat in a restaurant or sleep in a hotel because I am an LGBT American then that is segregation.
Now if I should travel to the Magnolia State, I will have to figure out where I can do business, where I can sleep and if I will be denied service in a particular restaurant.
What if a plumber won't fix a flooding home? How about a contractor refusing to build an LGBT couple a house? Can a person selling insurance refuse to sell LGBT Mississippians a policy? If an LGBT couple lives in a small Mississippi town, can all the businesses refuse them service based on faith?
Any American who cares about their fellow LGBT citizens must take a stand.
No company or organization should hold a convention or conference in the state.
I hear the beaches in Northern Florida are spectacular which are just a short distance from Mississippi's Gulf Coast. Want to gamble? There are so many other choices. Listen to the "Blues"? Hell, head to St. Louis or Kansas City, and the bar-b-que is excellent in both those cities.
For LGBT Americans, the choice is clear.
As long as this new system of segregation is on the books in Mississippi, we must fight it day in and day out. There is no question that our national legal organizations will oppose it. If LGBT people are actually denied service anywhere in the Magnolia State, a plan of civil disobedience has to be considered as a viable option.
Count on right-wing Republicans to attempt to pass the same law in other states in the name of religious freedom. In the 1960's, most of the white churches of the South used their faith as a reason to oppress African-Americans.
It was unacceptable then and it is unacceptable now.
America must come down hard on these laws now or we could be living with them in a number of states for years to come.