Mississippi’s “religious freedom” law applies to three very specific, Christian-based beliefs.

Mississippi’s “religious freedom” law applies to three very specific, Christian-based beliefs. May 17, 2016

Mississippi, like a few other mostly Southern states, has passed a “religious freedom” bill which is really just a “let religious people slide around discrimination laws” bill.

But Mississippi’s is different in a very relevant way: it stipulates that religious freedom, in this case, only applies to same-sex marriage, sex outside of marriage, and that gender is determined at birth.  Apparently, in Mississippi, “religious freedom” is very narrowly defined:

The Mississippi “religious liberty” law that will soon allow public officials to refuse service to same-sex couples and transgender individuals was hit with two legal challenges last week, one by the ACLU and the other by the Campaign for Southern Equality. Both suits argue the law, HB 1523, violates the constitutional protections laid down by the Supreme Court in last year’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which it clearly does. But it also brazenly violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from unduly favoring one religion over another.

Mississippi’s law, which protects only three specific religiously-based beliefs (that marriage should be between men and women only, that sex outside of marriage is immoral, and that gender and sex are only determined by anatomy at birth), is “excruciatingly different” from most generic state religious freedom laws, according to Andrew Seidel, constitutional attorney at the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

“They’ve actually chosen which religious beliefs they’re going to exempt, and that’s a big problem under the Establishment Clause,” Seidel said.  Most of the religious freedom laws privilege religion over non-religion, but the Mississippi law also privileges religion over religion, he explained. He called that additional step a “deadly mixture of ignorance and hubris.”

So if you want to, say, keep Jews from eating at your restaurant because of your religious beliefs, sorry, but that’s discrimination.

However, if you want to keep gay people from eating there, congratulations — your religious beliefs now count.

It’s like meta discrimination.  They manage to discriminate against LGBT people as well as anybody who doesn’t share a specific set of religious beliefs.  It’s really admirable in its offensiveness to the Constitution.

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