Comedienne Ellen DeGeneres got serious for a moment on Wednesday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show as she discussed the ramifications of Mississippi’s controversial Religious Freedom Bill. DeGeneres, who is a prominent member of the LGBTQ community, rarely takes time during her lighthearted show to address such serious topics, but according to People, Ellen even postponed her usual show opening dance to discuss the issue.
DeGeneres began her monologue regarding the Mississippi bill using her usual sense of humor, “I don’t know what Mr. Ssippi is doing but I’m very worried about Mississippi,” Ellen stated after informing the audience she was going to address the subject. DeGeneres went on to explain that the Governor of Mississippi had signed the Religious Freedom Bill into law earlier this week. Ellen explained that, while the word “freedom” being attached to the bill may sound like a positive thing, the bill’s title was misleading.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr and noted by Ellen, the bill actually allows business owners to deny members of the LGBTQ community the right to adopt, become foster parents, rent property, and be secure in their jobs if their sexual orientation goes against the religious beliefs of a business owner.
DeGeneres, who went on to remind her audience that she is not a political person, said she felt that it was important to use the highly-rated Ellen DeGeneres Show as a platform to discuss the bill because, “When I see something wrong I have to talk about it. It’s the same thing I do when seeing men wearing spandex in line at Starbucks. It’s wrong and I need to discuss it,” Ellen joked.
According to Entertainment Tonight, Ellen briefly discussed the difficulty of growing up in the South, DeGeneres’ own experiences as a result of her sexual orientation, and the discrimination she received because of it. But Ellen, who is known for spreading positivity with her show, also attempted to encourage her viewers, not only to be proactive in voicing their disproval of the bill but to be hopeful in overcoming the prejudice of others.
“If you’re in Mississippi or North Carolina or anywhere, and you’re saddened by the fact that people are judging you based on who you love, don’t lose hope,” DeGeneres said. “I was fired for being gay, I know what it feels like. I lost everything. But look at me now.”
DeGeneres, who was born and raised in Louisiana, officially came out as a lesbian in 1997. Ellen is currently married to Arrested Development alum Portia de Rossi. While DeGeneres and Rossi may not be affected directly by the passage of the Religious Freedom Bill, many citizens like Ellen express concern over the law’s influence on other similar legislation, both pending and passed, in other states.
“It is something the Supreme Court already ruled on when they made marriage a right for everyone. Everyone,” Ellen told her audience to loud applause. Though DeGeneres continued to inject humor, Ellen didn’t downplay the seriousness of the situation, calling it “discriminatory” and a “human rights” issue, and she is not alone in her concern.
DeGeneres is joined by a multitude of celebrities in speaking out against the Mississippi bill. Actors Josh Gad, Alyssa Milano, and Elijah Wood took to their Twitter accounts to share their frustration, while Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton also expressed their disgust with what has been deemed by some a step back for equality.
To view Ellen’s speech on the Mississippi bill in its entirety, see the video below:
[Cover image via Ellen DeGeneres Official Facebook.]