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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Mississippi’s New Anti-LGBT Bill: Bigotry Disguised as Religion


As time goes on, America is becoming more and more accepting of the LGBT community. Just last summer, on June 26, 2015, gay marriage became legal nationwide. President Obama, a known supporter of LGBT rights, said, “Every single American — gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender — every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of our society.” 

However, as America took a step forward in the right direction, this April, the southern state of Mississippi took two steps back. Mississippi Gov. Bryant signed a disgraceful discriminatory anti-LGBT bill that would allow individuals, businesses, non-profits, and other entities to discriminate against people solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.



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Supporters of the bill believe it will protect “the sincerely held religious belief or moral convictions” that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. They also argue that a man and a woman are defined in the court of law as “an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at the time of birth.

Some of the provisions put forward by the bill are that 1) transgender people can only use bathrooms that are consistent with their biological gender, 2)  an individual can decline to “solemnize any marriage” or provide wedding-related services, and 3) a company can fire an employee for being a LGBT person.

Supporters of the bill claim that this bill is essential to protect their religious freedom. However, in history, religion was also used to excuse slavery, unequal suffrage for women, and segregation.

Erik Fleming, the director of advocacy and policy for the ACLU of Mississippi, told  BuzzFeed News that the bill will only promote hate of minorities and lead to other forms of discrimination in the state. “It is reminiscent of what happened 50 or 60 years ago in this same state,” he said.“There were people who had a religious belief that black and white people should be segregated, and you’re opening that Pandora’s box again.”

Religion, as subjective as it to each individual, has no place in the court of law. This is especially true when people use religion as an excuse to take away the freedoms granted by the Constitution of all the LGBT citizens living in the state.

The sad truth is that LGBT inequality greatly exceeds the state of Mississippi. It is a larger issue that pertains to the whole of the U.S. This nation is known as one of the most powerful and prosperous countries in the world, and yet it is unable to protect the rudimentary human rights of the LGBT community.

It is our duty as American citizens to do anything within our power to demand change. I think Gandhi said it best– “Be the change you want to see in the world.” You need to be aware of the short and long term consequences of your political and economic decisions. You have to make sure that your beliefs are consistent with those of the politicians you vote for and those of the companies and businesses you financially support.

Your money and your vote have tremendous power. If you want to bring about change in the fight for LGBT equality, think about supporting companies that ensure LGBT-friendly policies, like Target for example. Target is a well-known advocate for LGBT rights and has recently allowed transgender employees and customers to use restrooms and fitting rooms that match their gender identity. 

The same goes for politics. One vote can be the deciding factor on whether a candidate wins or not. So as the 2016 presidential elections draw closer, vote for the candidate that you think would make America a better place for all citizens. A candidate that would focus on protecting the freedoms of every single American, no matter the citizen’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

By Marianna Ioannou



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