It’s a bad day to be a bigot. In the wake of Arizona governor Jan Brewer vetoing a turn-away-the-gays bill, the Mississippi legislature has done the same.
Mississippi’s bill was actually a lot worse than Arizona, since the discrimination was hidden away. Legislators thought that they were voting on a bill to add “In God we trust” to the state seal, which is problematic enough as it is. But then the ACLU pointed out that the obscure language would actually have allowed anyone to disregard the Civil Rights Act.
The Mississippi bill would also have allowed government agencies to hire and fire on the basis of religion. Of course, Mississippi already permits all employers to fire people for being gay, so it’s unclear what this law would have changed — other than making the discrimination even more overt.
A revised version of the bill now refers only to actions taken by the government, rather than applying to private businesses. That actually still seems pretty bad! Does that mean that cops can refuse to take a domestic violence report if they believe the Bible requires women to submit to men?
Whatever the case, it’s lucky that the ACLU was keeping a close eye on the proceedings. These turn-away-the-gays bills are very trendy right now, so we’ll likely see multiple attempts to pass them in super-conservative states. And while antigay forces are doing their best to pass them, so far saner heads have prevailed — but only just barely.