Mississippi Legislature passes bill allowing legal discrimination on basis of religion

Image: Wikipedia

The Mississippi Legislature passed a bill on Tuesday that would allow individuals and businesses to legally discriminate on the basis of their religion.

The state House and Senate approved a conference report on SB 2681, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, despite previous indications from the House that its version of the bill was on hold based on objections about the implications for discrimination.

The bill was passed by a vote of 78-43 in the House and 38-14 in the Senate. Both are dominated by Republicans.

The bill’s fate is now up to Gov. Phil Bryant (R), who has not said whether he will sign the legislation. If he does, the bill will go into effect on July 1.

Mississippi law defines a “person” to include “all public and private corporations,” ThinkProgress noted. So if the bill becomes law, it would allow businesses in the state to discriminate for religious reasons.

Though the bill does not mention sexual orientation, “gay,” or gender identity, LGBT advocates see the legislation as an attempt to alienate non-straight communities.

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