Moments ago the Mississippi Senate voted 31-17 along party lines to approve a sweeping bill that legalizes anti-LGBT discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The bill’s chief Senate sponsor, Sen. Jenifer Branning [photo], faced some tough questioning, most of all from black Democrats, but the haters once again simply outnumbered the good guys.
The bill now goes back to the state House for concurrence on a Senate change which grants the state immunity on lawsuits related to the bill. If reapproved in the House, it then goes to the desk of anti-LGBT Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who will surely face veto pressure from some of the organizations and corporations that successfully drove Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to veto his state’s bill. But we’re not holding our breath.
UPDATE: Dominic Holden has more at Buzzfeed.
The 13-page measure prohibits the government from “discriminating” against a person and certain organizations for acting on their religious convictions.
It defines “person” broadly — including “sole proprietorship, or closely held company, partnership, association, organization, firm, corporation, cooperative, trust, society or other closely held entity.” The government also could not penalize a religious organization for denying housing, employment, or services.
The bill further protects those providing photography, poetry, videography, disc-jockey services, wedding planning, printing, floral arrangements, dress making, cake or pastry, artistry, wedding-venue rentals, limousine, car-service rentals, jewelry sales and services, or similar marriage-related services.
It would protect those who believe “sexual relations are properly reserved” to opposite-sex marriages, and that being male or female is “objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”
It goes on to cover those enforcing sex-specific policies for employee or student dress or grooming, or concerning access to restrooms, showers, dressing rooms, or locker rooms.