I wrote an article on June 16th denouncing HB 3859 the Texas Religious Exemption law signed by Governor Abbott which goes into effect on September 1st allowing discrimination in adoption, foster care and child welfare services. “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 3859 into law which will allow Texas adoption and foster care agencies to claim religious objection to certain groups, without fear of losing state funding. This law will restrict adoption and fostering opportunities for LGBTQ, single men and women, or non-Christian parents, and could allow child welfare services to send foster children to anti-gay “conversion therapy. This law will actually make Christianity the “State Religion” as seen by Governor Abbott and so many religious right Republicans.” This law will be taken to court by the ACLU and hopefully be blocked with a stay although Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota and Virginia already have similar laws in place.
Now this past week a federal appeals court said that Mississippi can enforce a law allowing private citizens, federal employees and businesses to deny services to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals on religious grounds. A three-judge panel on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision overturning a previous decision blocking enforcement of the law, the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed this legalized discrimination into law in 2016. A federal judge filed an injunction on the law last June before it could take effect, citing that it violated the first and 14th amendments.The plaintiffs immediately appealed the ruling, and lawyers have stated that enforcement will remain blocked during the appeals process.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court’s decision said that the plaintiffs challenging the act had “no standing before the law” because it had not affected or injured them. Also, the panel did not rule on the constitutionality of the law. “None of these plaintiffs has clearly shown an injury-of-fact, so none has standing,” the judges wrote in their decision.
As Texas has done with the passing of the discriminatory law HB 3859 Mississippi did the same thing in 2016 with their law, which in their minds, aims to protect traditional marriages after the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages. This law, if allowed to stand, would allow government clerks to claim religious objections to certifying marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and encourage and entice businesses to deny marriage-related services to LGBT people if such services were to violate a “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.” When allowing laws like these to stand and if more pass it opens the floodgates for all religions, genders, ethnicities, bigots, xenophobes to start an all out war on others they oppose all in the name of “Religion”. These laws will not only lead to more division between political parties but divides in the local community. It will also cause more friction and division between family members as I have seen first hand in my own family after the 2016 Presidential Election. All of my in-laws are right wing Republican as were my parents, who have now passed on. They were devout Southern Baptist right wing Republicans which was also engrained in my brother, sister, brother-in law and their children….all Republicans.
Mississippi’s Governor Bryant walks in the same shoes as Texas Governor Abbott spouting “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” while actually promoting religious discrimination and hate. When Governor Bryant says “As I have said all along, the legislation is not meant to discriminate against anyone, but simply prevents government interference with the constitutional right to exercise sincerely held religious beliefs” he is allowing state employees, merchants and individuals to not only discriminate against LGBTQ people but also people of faiths other than Christian, people in bi-racial marriages, single parents or couples who choose to have children without getting married first, the list just goes on and on. A bigot and racist’s wet dream.
More and more we see states that are passing these “Religious Freedom” laws pursue growing multitudes of these laws in petri dishes in their Radical Right Religious Laboratories funded by the Republican Party. The party that seems to have lost all compassion and empathy and turned into the party of greed, supercilious, heartless and soulless pod people (this is a reference to “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” for those to young to know it ) 😉
Should this type of discrimination be allowed to become more prominent in legislation I truly fear hate crimes will grow exponentially against LGBTQ, Muslim, Undocumented Immigrants and other disenfranchised groups.
More and more we are seeing these “Religious Freedom” laws passed in additional states. They currently exist, live and seem to be growing in Alabama, South Dakota, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and now Texas. Although my parents are gone now and I am 60 I still think of the times my parents said “What is this world coming to?” and I think the same thing. That is why now it is more important that all groups that are being attacked and suppressed come together in the RESISTANCE and continue to fight knowing we can never let America succumb and become a country that does not care about those who struggle daily to get by!