Anti-LGBT Bills In North Carolina And Mississippi Show Early Results
The anti-LGBT bills in Mississippi and North Carolina are showing early results, but not necessarily the results lawmakers had expected.
Bruce Springsteen cancelled a concert in Greensboro, NC, that should have taken place on Sunday, April 10, to protest HB2, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act. Four groups have cancelled conventions in North Carolina, and nine others that had been in negotiations decided to hold their conventions elsewhere, according to the New Civil Rights Movement website. Comedian Joel McHale considered cancelling his appearance at the Durham Performing Arts Center, but decided instead to “donate every single dime I make tonight” to the LGBTQ Center of Durham, said ET Online.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 9, 2016
NBC News reported that PayPal “cancelled plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte, North Carolina and invest $3.6 million in the area after the state passed a controversial law targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens.”
North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest says the law is to protect women and children from being attacked in public restrooms by men claiming to be transgender women.
“If our action in keeping men out of women’s bathrooms and showers protected the life of just one child or one woman from being molested or assaulted, then it was worth it.”
— Frank Turek (@DrFrankTurek) March 31, 2016
HB2, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, requires people to use the gender-appropriate bathroom to their original biological gender. This means that Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, would be required to use the men’s bathroom in North Carolina. LGBT activists claim that transgender people are at more risk of being attacked for being in the incorrect bathroom than they are to attack anyone.
— Beth (@MrsStinkFingers) April 5, 2016
The Star-Telegram reported that Ellen DeGeneres mocked Mississippi’s new law HB1523, the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.”
The Star-Telegram also reported that the mayors of several Mississippi towns were surprised and disappointed by HB1523. Mayor Chipper McDermott of Pass Christian, MS; Mayor Les Fillingame of Bay St. Louis, MS; Mayor Billy Skellie of Long Beach, MS; Mayor Connie Moran of Ocean Springs, MS; Mayor Jim Blevins of Pascagoula, MS; and Mayor Andrew Gilich of Biloxi, MS; have all objected to the new law. They’re concerned it will affect tourism. Connie Moran spoke for her colleagues.
“It is nothing more than codified discrimination. This just set us back to the 1960s. We’re just moving a sense of bigotry from race to sexual identity….We are proud of our cultural heritage, our diversity. This does not define who we are, and we just want to tell the world that we welcome everyone to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and we hope we can continue to welcome visitors to our fair state and particularly the Coast.”
— @TheDailyEdge on Universeodon (@TheDailyEdge) April 8, 2016
The Mississippi law is considered one of the harshest and most far-reaching anti-LGBT laws in the United States, according to The Nation. Although intended to prevent those who are opposed to same-sex marriages from being required to act against their sincerely held religious beliefs, opponents of the law say that it could be interpreted much more broadly than its authors intended. Only last week, an RV park owner in Tupelo, MS, evicted a married couple because the wife was Hispanic and Native American, but the husband was African-American. The landlord said the neighbors and his church disapproved of interracial marriages. In theory, a business owner could refuse service to an unmarried couple “living in sin,” a single mother with illegitimate children, or a customer who was Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, or Roman Catholic. In theory, this law could be used to deny service to someone like former county clerk Kim Davis, who has been married and divorced multiple times.
Only last week, an RV park owner in Tupelo, MS, evicted a married couple because the wife was Hispanic and Native American, but the husband was African-American. The landlord said the neighbors and his church disapproved of interracial marriages. In theory, a business owner could refuse service to an unmarried couple “living in sin,” a single mother with illegitimate children, or a customer who was Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, or Roman Catholic. In theory, this law could be used to deny service to someone like former county clerk Kim Davis, who has been married and divorced multiple times.
— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) April 6, 2016
Tennessee is considering two controversial bills, which LGBT activists claim would harm the LGBT community, especially LGBT youth. HB2414 would require students to use bathrooms and locker rooms according to the sex indicated on the students’ original birth certificate. HB1840, which was passed by the Tennessee state House of Representatives a few days ago, would permit mental health counselors to refuse LGBT clients on religious grounds, in violation of the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics.
— LoveHateChurchState (@LoveHateMovie) March 31, 2016
Georgia considered similar laws but changed their minds when Disney and other corporations threatened to boycott the state. Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia has faced severe criticism from some of his citizens for vetoing that state’s Religious Freedom bill and praise from other citizens.
The early reactions to these anti-LGBT laws in North Carolina and Mississippi have been negative. It remains to be seen whether the governments of these two states will change their minds when boycotts hurt the local economy or whether they will put principle above price.
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[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]