Mississippi businesses protest anti-gay bill.

Mississippi businesses protest anti-gay bill. April 14, 2014

It’s the age old battle: all-powerful god vs. the almighty dollar.  It’s a battle god has never won.

In Mississippi they are attempting to pass a bill not unlike the one that Gov. Jan Brewer recently vetoed in Arizona: one that would allow businesses an exemption from discrimination laws if the discrimination was born of religious convictions (because while discrimination is bad no matter the motivation, we must, under the guise of freedom, give religious people leeway to be bad people that other Americans don’t get).  But business owners in Mississippi like money, and want gay people to know that their dollars are welcome at their store (even if gays aren’t welcome in heaven):

Businesses in Mississippi are trying to counter the state’s negative public image in the wake of the passage of Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which gives businesses the legal ability to discriminate against customers based on religion.

They are posting decals in their storefronts reading, “If You’re Buying, We’re Selling,” according to the Clarion Ledger:

Eddie Outlaw, who owns William Wallace Salon and Fondren Barber Shop, was part of the creative team behind If You’re Buying, with Mitchell Moore, who owns Campbell’s Bakery in Fondren.

“A lot of us were trying to counter the negative stuff from outside Mississippi,” Outlaw said, referring to the national coverage 2681 got while it circulated the Capitol. “We wanted to let people know – not just the LGBT community but the progressive community as a whole – that this doesn’t represent everybody here.”

To drive that point home, participating businesses will display in their storefront windows a vinyl, sticker-like circle that reads, “We don’t discriminate. If you’re buying, we’re selling.”

The LGBT rights group Equality Mississippi is providing the decals (pictured here), and says hundreds of businesses have signed up to receive one.

Our competition might reject customers?  Here, we’ll help with that.

All the same, even if no business owner in the state would take the legislature up on its offer to discriminate with legal impunity, the bill needs to die.  You don’t get to break the law because you’re religious – that goes for speeding laws, laws against theft, and also anti-discrimination laws.  If you can’t hang a “Whites Only” sign over your business’ water fountain in Mississippi, you don’t get to hang a “Straights Only” sign over it either.

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