Opponents of the bill call it the most discriminatory bill ever to be passed in the history of the United States.
Discrimination has always been part of the human society. At least, this is the message that the anti-LGBT religious freedom bill projects. Pretty soon, in Mississippi, an individual or an organization will be able to discriminate against people for being gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender, and the government will not be able to do anything about it.
As of now, discrimination against the LGBT community calls for penalties like loss of benefit/contract/grant or revocation of certificates/license, and so on. Once the bill is passed, anybody will be able to hide their discriminatory behavior inside the shell of religious beliefs. Even if they get sued by their victims, the anti-LGBT religious freedom bill will not only ensure victory for them but also compensatory damages as well.
Mississippi Senate is largely dominated by Republicans. Last Thursday, the Senate voted 28-18, thus passing the bill. The day before, the Senators had voted 31-17 to pass the bill. Now, the House only have to concur once more, and the bill will be sent to the Governor for signing, and thus making it law. It is expected that the House will have the concurrence voting concluded by early next week.
According to Senator Jennifer Branning, the bill is not discriminatory at all. It protects those religious people who cannot in good conscience abide by the practices of the LGBT community, for example, same-sex marriage. She said the bill would essentially protect individuals and organizations from government retribution for practicing their faith.
The Democrats are fiercely opposing the bill. Senator John Horhn said that as an African-American, he has experienced discrimination. He knows how it feels to be discriminated. He challenged the Republicans by asking them how they are unable to see the transparent discriminatory side of the bill. Ben Needham, the director of Project One America, tagged the bill as the worst religious freedom bill to date. Project One America is an LGBT advocacy project run by the Human Rights Campaign. As per the critics, the bill would explicitly provide for the denial of services, medical treatment, and employment to LGBT people. The anti-LGBT religious freedom bill, in effect, will also protect those people who plainly refuse to recognize the gender identity of transgender people. The bill would also give authority to organizations to impose dressing and grooming codes, even to police the bathroom use if they so choose.