Yesterday, October 10, House Bill 1523, the nation’s most extreme anti-LGBTQ law, took effect across the state of Mississippi. The measure, the most extreme anti-LGBTQ law in the country, went into effect after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ dismissed a lower federal court ruling striking down the law as unconstitutional.
HB1523 specifically allows some residents with anti-LGBTQ beliefs to refuse service to married same-sex couples, people who have sex outside of marriage, and transgender people. Under this unprecedented religious refusal law, Mississippi state employees could refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, public school counselors could turn away LGBTQ or questioning youth in crisis, and health care providers could deny transgender people access to healthcare at any time, among just a few examples of potential discrimination.
The Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination expressed its strong opposition to this shameful law this week. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued this statement on behalf of the coalition:
“Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination strongly opposes Mississippi’s HB 1523, which is one of the most sweeping, egregious anti-LGBTQ laws in the country. Under the guise of religious beliefs, business owners now have the freedom to openly discriminate against LGBTQ residents. That directly contradicts our Constitution’s requirement of the separation of church and state and is antithetical to our country’s values of freedom and justice for all. This law will have a cruel effect on the tens of thousands of LGBTQ people living, working and raising families in Mississippi.”