Target: Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, Philip Gunn
Goal: Don’t allow legalized discrimination against LGBT people.
The governor of Mississippi recently signed a bill which allows people to discriminate against gay people, transgender people, and people who have sex outside of marriage. The law claims to protect religious freedom, but religious freedom does not include the right to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Under the new Mississippi law, state employees can refuse to issue marriage licenses, religious organizations can fire employees, and counsellors and doctors can refuse to provide services to people whose lifestyles they do not agree with, according to NPR. This is a huge step backwards for the LGBT movement in America.
All across the country, states are passing laws which sanction discrimination against LGBT people, removing any legal protections for this marginalized group. These laws relegate LGBT folks to second class citizens. They prioritize religious people’s right to hate over LGBT people’s right to live their lives as they choose, without fear of harassment and bigotry. Lawmakers cannot continue to use “religious freedom” as an excuse to protect hateful behavior.
Mississippi must repeal this law. Sign the petition below to restore legal protections for LGBT people in Mississippi.
Dear Speaker Gunn,
You and the legislators who voted to pass HB 1523 have made a terrible mistake. This so-called religious freedom bill relegates gay people and transgender people to second class citizens, by legally sanctioning hateful actions committed against them.
Gay people and transgender people often live in fear of discriminatory actions that will separate them from their loved ones, send them into poverty, and even threaten their lives. Under this law, a teacher could legally be fired from a Catholic school for being gay. Suppose she has children to take care of. How will she care for them if she loses her job?
This law will hurt Mississippi—I am sure you are aware that PayPal recently abandoned its plan to expand to North Carolina after that state passed a law quite similar to yours. This law has proven to the rest of the country that Mississippi is a hateful place, and your state will miss out on economic opportunities because of it.
I urge you to repeal this law, Mr. Gunn, and prove that Mississippi is not a place that will stand for bigotry. If you are a religious man, I am sure you know that Jesus encouraged everyone to love their neighbors, and never once said that gay people or transgender people are any less worthy of love and respect.
Your state can do better than this, Mr. Gunn. I sincerely hope you will realize the mistake you have made, and introduce new legislation to correct it.
[You Name Here]
Photo credit: Bolton