Major tech, hospitality, and automotive companies are speaking out about Mississippi’s new anti-LGBT law, which Gov. Phil Bryant signed Tuesday.
At press time, leaders of eight major corporations have signed on to a letter drafted by the Human Rights Campaign urging the state’s Republican leadership to repeal the law.
“Put simply, HB 1523 is not a bill that reflects the values of our companies,” reads the letter, noting that the business community has overwhelmingly rejected such discrimination, finding that a welcoming environment attracts the best and brightest employees. “We are disappointed to see the legislature and governor’s office pass discriminatory legislation… This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development.”
In addition to impacting the ability of Mississippi companies to attract high-value workers, the new law “will also diminish the state’s draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses, and economic activity,” the letter states. “Discrimination is wrong, and we believe it has no place in Mississippi or anywhere in our country. As companies that pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, we strongly urge you to repeal this bill.”
After effectively shelving a bill targeting transgender students last month, a Tennessee committee today advanced legislation that would bar transgender students statewide from using the restrooms or locker rooms that correspond with their identity.
The Tennessean newspaper reports that the committee’s willingness to reconsider HB 2414 after effectively scuttling it just a month before “came after Family Action Counsel of Tennessee sent emails to members of the community questioning their integrity.”
The Family Action Council of Tennessee bills itself as a conservative nonprofit “dedicated to protecting marriage and family, life, and religious liberty,” according to its website. The group’s mission, as stated on the site, “is to equip Tennesseans and their elected officials to effectively promote and defend a culture that values the traditional family, for the sake of the common good.”
“Our belief is that healthy families and communities come about when basic values from the Bible are embraced and upheld,” FACT’s “About Us” page explains.
Following the signing of the nation’s newest anti-LGBT law, signed Tuesday by Mississippi governor Phil Bryant, governors acted fast to ban official travel to the Magnolia State.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on Wednesday banning all non-essential state travel to Mississippi, requiring all “agencies, departments, boards and commissions to immediately review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to the state of Mississippi, and bar any such publicly funded travel that is not essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety.”
While New York was the largest and most influential state to bar travel to Mississippi, Minnesota, Vermont, and Washington state took similar action, with Seattle’s out mayor, Ed Murray, also enacting a separate ban for his city’s employees.
It was reported last week that North Carolina may lose federal funds for schools, highways, and education after passing an anti-LGBT law, and the Southern state might not be alone.
Mississippi could be the next state to face federal cuts, after passing an aggressive anti-LGBT law last week that allows businesses, individuals, and religiously-affiliated organizations to deny service to LGBT people, single mothers, and others who offend an individual’s “sincerely held religious belief.”
On Tuesday, Josh Earnest, the White House Press Secretary called the Mississippi law “outright mean-spirited.” The president and his administration have “long been on the side of justice and equality,” Earnest told The Washington Blade. When asked about “religious liberty” bills that have passed recently in North Carolina and Mississippi, he said, “some of the laws that we’ve seen passed that target LGBT Americans are not consistent with those values of fairness and equality.”