Column: Missouri must watch what is happening to Mississippi

Recently passed religious liberty bill has several ties between Mississippi and other states.

Ever since the legalization of same-sex marriage, some states have been trying to find a way to oppress the LGBT population. Most recently, many state legislators, including in Missouri, have been pushing “religious freedom bills,” which give protection to organizations and individuals who refuse to provide services to LGBTQ persons, citing their religious beliefs.

As stated in my earlier column speaking on Missouri’s own bill, these bills do nothing but promote bigotry and discrimination. If, God forbid, Missouri passes this bill, it would make us look like a state stuck in the past. While this was just a theory when I wrote the column, it has turned out to be true. At least in Mississippi’s case.

Under the newly passed Mississippi bill titled “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act”, Mississippians have the outrageous powers to decide “whether or not to hire, terminate or discipline an individual whose conduct or religious beliefs are inconsistent” with their beliefs. In addition to those hateful strengths, professionals in medicine and therapy will legally be allowed to refuse “treatments, counseling or surgeries related to sex reassignment or gender identity transitioning” and “psychological, counseling or fertility services” to people who live contrary to how the professionals believe they should be living.

On April 6, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a democrat, was so outraged by the passing of the bill that he banned all non-essential travel to Mississippi. The governor stated that all requests for state-funded or state-sponsored travel to any state that has permitted any kind of discrimination law will be rejected, effectively cutting off Mississippi from New York.

Cuomo said these laws are “a sad, hateful injustice against the LGBT community” and will not reinstate this travel until the law is repealed.

While New York is the first state to take such a harsh stance, I’m sure there will be harsher repercussions, and they will not be the last to enact measures of this kind. This is even further justification of why Missouri needs to block its own “religious liberty” bill. The last thing this state needs to do is create economic and social problems by isolating itself from other states.

If Missouri state legislators want to pass the bill because they don’t see the moral issues of it, I can only hope they use Mississippi as an example and block it for fear of what may happen to their own state.

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