Mississippi HB 1523 – a bill that would severely limit the rights of LGBT people by letting people who have a religious problem with them refuse service – is on the verge of being passed. If the history of Mississippi is any guide, Governor Phil Bryant will sign it into law. But, if the history of other recent “I’ll gladly pay you next century for a giant mistake today” states is any guide, it’s surprisingly less predictable. Some state governors (most recently Georgia’s) have faced so much blow-back from similar bills, they’ve actually vetoed them. Other state governors (most recently North Carolina’s) have faced so much blow-back from similar bills, they’ve signed them anyway. But, assuming Governor Phil Bryant does what Governor Phil Bryant does best, what can Mississippi’s LGBT population look forward to not doing?
From when the law takes effect to when the Supreme Court strikes it down, HB 1523 will be a veritable cornucopia of services deniable to LGBT people. No longer will gay couples have to deal with the pressures of adopting or fostering children, since same-sex couples won’t be legally guaranteed those rights. No longer will they have to worry about everything that comes with planning a wedding, because people who disagree with their lifestyles won’t have to serve them. No longer will people who want gender reassignment surgery have to wonder if their doctors want to do the surgery, because they can deny them based on religious beliefs. And, places won’t have to worry about pesky trans-friendly restrooms, dressing rooms, or locker rooms, since Jesus definitely would not do those. Clerks also don’t have to authorize gay marriages if they don’t want to (Although they’re supposed to find someone who will authorize them if they don’t, the bill doesn’t say what happens if they can’t find anyone.).
Some people claim these and other discriminatory things in the bill constitute discrimination. The problem with this assumption is that the bill is called, “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” so it can’t possibly be discriminatory. It’s actually an anti-discrimination bill, because it’s meant to protect people from being discriminated against by LGBT people who want to use their services. It’s like how the Civil Rights Act protects people from being discriminated against based on things like race, religion, or sex. It’s just adding, “people who think they’re being discriminated against, because they’re discriminating against people” to that list. It’s really the Civil Rights Act’s fault, since it wasn’t forward-looking enough to see that “people who think they’re being discriminated against, because they’re discriminating against people” would eventually be a group of people facing discrimination.
If you still can’t figure out how LGBT people are the ones doing the discriminating, rather than the ones being discriminating against, just open up your Bible. There are, like, five whole verses in there about how LGBT people are immoral. HB 1523 supporters know that, while a lot of things in the Bible have no place in the modern world, you can always rely on LGBT immorality. Obviously, women shouldn’t be subservient to men; slavery shouldn’t be justified; people shouldn’t be stoned for not being kosher; divorce shouldn’t only be allowed in cases of adultery; and racism shouldn’t be weirdly justified by either one dude killing his brother, or Noah’s son laughing at his father for passing out drunk and naked. These are all ridiculous, outdated things, and they’re completely different from viewing LGBT behavior as abominable. The Bible obviously wants us to deny goods and services to the LGBT population, because how else are we supposed to interact with people whose genetics and biology make them different from us?
But, if you still can’t see how denying people goods and services based on things beyond their control makes sense, just wait and see how great life gets under HB 1523. Pay close attention, though, because someone’s going to have to explain to the next generation why a bill that looks terrible was actually a great idea…