US: Opinion: HB 1523 violates basic human rights

Jaz Brisack writing for the Daily Mississippian

Thanks to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Mississippi is once again vying for the title of “most regressive state in the country.”

Last summer, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued a 60-page opinion that temporarily blocked the notorious House Bill 1523 from going into effect. Last week, the circuit court decided that discrimination does not violate the Constitution and that this infamous law will be enforced starting Friday.

This law is a violation of basic human rights and dignity. It is an all-out attack on the LGBTQ community. It devalues and excludes from society anyone who does not adhere to a heteronormative and evangelical Christian lifestyle. It allows discrimination in hiring, issuing marriage licenses, granting adoption rights, renting, dispensing health care and much more.

Foster parents would be able to subject LGBTQ youth to abuses such as the dangerous and medically shunned “conversion therapy,” while state counseling programs could be withheld from LGBTQ individuals, including veterans.

Women — this applies to us, as well. Many schools, businesses, health providers (such as Baptist Memorial Hospital) and other groups are now allowed to police our reproductive choices, outfits and lives. Our doctors can legally refuse to prescribe us birth control. Our bosses can force us to wear makeup, pantyhose or high heels. Religious schools can forbid us to wear pants. Our employers can fire us for using birth control or having an abortion. Remember, all the businesses that can deny service to people can also discriminate against their employees.

Even straight men aren’t off the hook. For men and women alike, premarital or extramarital sex can be forbidden. Hooked up with someone out of wedlock? Gotten a divorce? A single parent? Well, someone’s “sincerely held” religious belief can be used against you, too.

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