Opinion Politics

Why corporations are wrong about the Mississippi law (COMMENTARY)

Welcome to Mississippi sign.

(RNS) Big business can be accused of a lot of things, but having ineffective ad campaigns is not one of them. Which means it takes a savvy consumer to maintain independent judgment and make purchases based on her own criteria, not marketing spin.

Now the informed consumer needs to exercise that same discretion when encountering big business’ latest marketing campaign, not for a product, but for a pet political cause. Nowhere has corporate messaging been more high-pitched lately than in its efforts to stigmatize religious liberty bills and other common sense efforts to defuse the culture wars.

Citizens beware: Big business is trying to “rebrand” religious liberty as bigotry by distorting the facts about policies that draw strong support among Americans.

Consider the mischaracterization of a law just enacted in Mississippi. “(T)his legislation will permit discrimination against people based on their marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression,” said a statement from IBM. Similar comments came from Levi Strauss, MGM Resorts International and others.

Welcome to Mississippi sign.

Photo courtesy of photo.ua via Shutterstock

Welcome to Mississippi sign.

These vague accusations don’t reflect the actual text of Mississippi’s new “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.” What the new law does is to prevent discrimination by ensuring the government will not force people to violate their conscience in very specific contexts spelled out by the law.

For starters, Mississippi’s new law ensures that churches and other religious groups aren’t punished for declining to host or solemnize weddings that would violate their conscience. Remember the controversy over Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky? Mississippi won’t have that kind of a showdown because the new law ensures everyone eligible for a marriage license gets one without delay while also accommodating individual clerks who want to opt out of issuing marriage licenses altogether.

Mississippi’s policy shows that we can coexist. Why would big business oppose that?

The law also ensures that religious schools and ministries serving those in need can continue to set their personnel and housing policies in accord with their beliefs. (This provision covers only religious organizations, not businesses. The law has nothing to do with business hiring or landlord policies.) Faith-based adoption agencies will be free to continue placing every child they serve with a married mom and dad.

While bakers, a photographer, and a florist in other states have faced massive fines, creative professionals in wedding-related businesses in Mississippi cannot be coerced to use their talents to celebrate same-sex weddings.

As communities grapple with gender identity questions, the new law allows private businesses and schools to set their own policies for the use of bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. (PayPal announced plans to cancel an office expansion in North Carolina after that state passed a similar privacy protection measure — even though the law leaves them and other businesses free to make these policies however they see fit).

The bill guarantees that no one is denied emergency care or hospital visitation privileges.

Confusion around the new law seems to come from media coverage that fails to distinguish its protections for religious organizations  — which do not apply to businesses — from its much narrower policy concerning a handful of small businesses in a specific circumstance: wedding-related vendors in the context of participating in wedding ceremonies. The only provisions that apply to businesses generally are the assurances that private employers can set their own bathroom and employee dress policies based on their particular circumstances.

Most of the new law is about protecting religious groups and individuals who have a different perspective on marriage. It guarantees their religious freedom while not taking anything away from anyone else. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of differences.

Jennifer A. Marshall is vice president for the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at The Heritage Foundation and senior research fellow at the Institute of Theology and Public Life at Reformed Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Photograph © David Hills, courtesy of Jennifer A. Marshall

Jennifer A. Marshall is a Heritage Foundation vice president and the Joseph C. and Elizabeth A. Anderlik Fellow in the think tank’s Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity. Photograph © David Hills, courtesy of Jennifer A. Marshall

Citizens in Mississippi and elsewhere are looking for solutions that defuse cultural tension over issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Polling showed Mississippians’ strong support (63 percent) for this legislation.

The corporate establishment’s campaign against these common sense policies disregards all that. Citizens would do well to see through the big business marketing blitz against religious liberty. This corporate messaging puts neither the common good nor constitutional principle first.

(Jennifer A. Marshall is a Heritage Foundation vice president and the Joseph C. and Elizabeth A. Anderlik Fellow in the think tank’s Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity)


About the author

Jennifer A. Marshall


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  • Re: “What the new law does is to prevent discrimination …”

    Let me see if I got this straight. A law explicitly permitting people to discriminate, doesn’t allow discrimination … ? In what strange alternate universe does this make even the tiniest bit of sense? Folks must be smoking some pretty good stuff down there in Mississippi, if they actually believe such a thing can be true.

  • We can’t expect anti-gays to be honest about their attacks on LGBT Americans and the United States Constitution. Anita Bryant was dumped by the Florida Orange Juice people in the 1970s because her constant public lying about LGBT Americans destroyed her credibility and her ability to promote their product. Everything anti-gays have claimed over the years have been debunked as lies. Some, like “they choose to be gay” and “they are mentally ill” took many years to debunk. Sexual orientation, whether gay or non-gay, has been proven to be inborn and unchangeable. Psychologists have shown being gay or lesbian is just as healthy and “normal” as being non-gay. However, psychologists identified homophobia as a mental illness and published their results in the Journal of the National Institutes of Health in 1953.

  • Ms. Marshall is engaging in what psychologists call “projection”:

    “Big business is trying to “rebrand” religious liberty as bigotry”

    No, anti-gays are trying to rebrand bigotry as “religious liberty.” Marshall lies about the text of the Hate Law:

    “The bill guarantees that no one is denied emergency care or hospital visitation privileges.”

    Wrong. ANY business may decline to provide basic life needs, including a hospital. A grocer or a pharmacist might be the only one in town, but would be able to deny food or medicine to LGBT Americans. Marshall lies about hospital visitation precisely because denying same gender partners such visits was commonplace in many US States.

  • Marshall wrote:

    “While bakers, a photographer, and a florist in other states have faced massive fines”

    Perhaps Marshall means “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” in Oregon. The owners, the Kleins, attacked the same gender couple who tried to order a cake in writing. After that attack, the Kleins published the home address and other private information for the same gender couple at multiple anti-gay websites, inciting a Hate Crime against the couple and their child. The court fined the Kleins not just for violating Oregon law, but also for inciting the Hate Crime. The Kleins received “donations” totaling 3 times the fine, and even then, they only paid when authorities took action to collect their fine.

    Funny how anti-gays never discuss the fact all these bakers, florists, and such all have the same legal representation.

  • All these anti-gay bakers, etc., are being incited to commit those crimes by one anti-gay Hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom Of Faith. The attorneys from this Alliance are going to the 21 US States with laws that forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to incite anti-gay wedding service providers with existing LGBT customer bases to make these attacks and commit these crimes. The Alliance promises these anti-gays free legal representation and to pay all fines and costs BEFORE they commit those crimes, in the hope they can get these laws revoked.

    Want evidence? Here it is:


  • “What the new law does is to prevent discrimination by ensuring the government will not force people to violate their conscience in very specific contexts spelled out by the law.”

    Well…I’m not a lawyer (neither is Ms Marshall, once with the hate propaganda group, the Family Research Foundation).

    Section 2 of the act, for starters, expressly does not protect the sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions of those who believe that discriminating against LGBT people and couples is immoral. Those sincerely held religious beliefs aren’t recognized as such by Mississippi.

    Religious organizations are already protected from having to marry any couple they don’t want to marry, for any or no reason. They don’t need Mississippi’s protection. There are, after all, still churches which won’t marry interracial couples more than fifty years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Churches also don’t have to ordain female clergy, either.

  • The New Mexico photographer was ordered to pay $6,637.94 in attorney fees, according to CNN. State HR dept. aren’t really interested in fining businesses, I think. They’re interested in bringing a business into compliance with state law…but when a business refuses, what can you do?

    Albuquerque and NM passed anti-discrimination laws back when the Bible Belt was hunkering down to protect Jim Crow by most any means, including condoning terrorism.

    Us New Mexicans are just not use to hearing “We don’t serve your kind here.”

  • Since when has upholding equal protection under the law been an attack on religion?

    You are discriminated against for not being as to deny people goods and services in a malicious manner? Hardly.

    But haters gotta hate. You can’t help it, right?

  • Um, Ms . Marshall, its not big business leading the call in opposing MS’s new discrimination law, it’s people with common decency. Honest folk who don’t pretend religious freedom means a license to treat people like dirt.

    To be honest, big business would not care if not for the fact that such obvious discriminatory laws produce bad PR, make operations difficult and die hard bigots like yourself aren’t a significant enough market for them to care about.

  • “Citizens beware: Big business is trying to “rebrand” religious liberty as bigotry by distorting the facts about policies that draw strong support among Americans.”

    I stopped reading after this because if she convinced herself this is a true statement, there is no lie she won’t tell.

  • He also wants to lie about the Sweet Cakes case. Not sure why this particular misrepresentation is so persistent — probably because even the crybullies are embarrassed by the silliness of the damages claimed.

  • Don’t like discrimination? Don’t discriminate, simple as that. In the meantime, quit forcing your totalitarian morality on a population that, by and large, already agrees to cater to anyone.

  • quote>>>religious liberty bills and other common sense efforts to defuse the culture wars.

    says the person fighting the culture wars…. up is down, etc

  • >>> What the new law does is to prevent discrimination by ensuring the government will not force people to violate their conscience in very specific contexts spelled out by the law.

    Sure, think, for example, of the people who as a matter of conscience do not want to free their slaves, pay the minimum wage, serve food to Mormons, sell cars to atheists, or use clean medical instruments. The rights of these individuals must be protected….

  • Except for the fact that it transpired exactly as described. Anyone willing to claim denying goods and services in a commercial or government setting is an expression of religious freedom is not going to represent facts in an honest fashion.

    Nobody really believes these bills/laws have anything to do with religious freedom. Not even his advocates. It’s all about trying to get in some kind of attack on gays now that discriminatory laws banning marriage equality were shot down.

  • The Kleins were fined by the court for the denial of service, not for publishing the spurned customers’ personal info.

  • I’m talking about what the commissioner’s ruling expressly stated, Einstein. Did you actùally read it, or just repeat what you heard third-hand?

  • Many people, even those sympathetic to the LGBT community, questioned the seemingly large award in this case, emotional distress etc. Raw Story then published an article with the claim that the Kleins were actually fined in that amount for releasing the complainants’ personal information (Aaron Klein did, in fact, publish the complaint on Facebook and did not redact their names and addresses). A cursory reading of the tribunal’s decision by a non-lawyer could have led to Raw Story’s conclusion. This article was shared widely, before law blogs like The Volokh Conspiracy picked up the story and sorted it out: the human rights agency wanted them to be fined for this, but the tribunal held the denied-service award was adequate compensation. The Raw Story article later put a correction out, but it was too late.

  • You got it, man. Your hate and theophobia are overwhelming.

    You say that this is a fraudulent law. I don’t think you recognize fraudulent laws. Do some digging? Why do you think so much sweat and attention has been invested by media in “gay marriage” laws? You really think so many people are care more about the <3% of the population it affects that its due all this attention? Wake up. Look at the rulings and laws that are being passed in favor of the political and industrial elite that slam poor and middle class citizens. But most of us don't see those, even though they have much more profound impact on much higher percentage of our population. Why not? Because we're distracted by these stories promoted by the elites.

    "Gay marriage" and the backlash are both artificial issues. Or, are you one of the elite trying to pile on the confusion?

  • No. You and your fellow travelers are the ones who are attempting to “rebrand” religious liberty into a license to discriminate. The federal courts will certainly find the Mississippi law unconstitutional, the same way the courts found laws that Mississippi and other states passed in the wake of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. Those laws attempted to use “religious views” as a reason to allow businesses to discriminate on the basis of race, just as the current bill allows “sincerely held religious views” to serve as a license to discriminate against gay and lesbian people, as well as others. IN other words, Jennifer A. Marshal, you are a liar.

  • “Nobody really believes these bills/laws have anything to do…”

    Maybe you haven’t talked to enough people. You really think there’s a vast conspiracy to pass bills to attack gays because of a ruling that gays can’t be “discriminatory” marriage laws were show down? Very, very few people cared that much to bother. You’re imagining it. I know, that’s what the power elites have told us, though, and they wouldn’t lie to you, would they? And people looking for political power and looking for someone to demonize (on either side of the issue) wouldn’t try to mislead you and appropriate your support, would they?

  • What strikes me about all these cases–defending businesspeople who decline to serve particular classes of people, the “bathroom bills”–is the unfairness of singling out LGBTs. Well, no duh–but what I mean is that a strictly religious business person probably already serves all kinds of clientele whose behavior he disapproves of–he just doesn’t know. And the bathroom bills will have little impact on sexual predators, who I believe are overwhelmingly straight.

  • “a strictly religious business person probably already serves all kinds of clientele whose behavior he disapproves of–he just doesn’t know”

    Of course. No one objects to the person but to the event.

  • We should just avoid selling anything to each other: that way, nobody runs the risk of being complicit in the sin of anybody else. “If your right hand causes you to sin…” and all that…

    That will also reign in all of the physical, verbal, professional, and social abuse that is directed towards those sinful “events.” This also had the added benefit of cutting down on court cases filed due to assault on “events,” or defamation of “events,” or discrimination against “events.”

    This is a fantastic solution. We can’t lose!

  • YES! It ain’t that vast either. “Social Conservatives” are using this nonsense as a way to drum up votes in an election year. Appealing to bigotry has always been a winning plan for bible thumpers and conservatives in general.. After all, the Religious Right came out of the people still trying to keep segregation going long after the fact.
    In fact this behavior parallels what racists were doing after Brown v. Board of Ed.

    Anyone with even a grade school knowledge of what religious freedom means smells this nonsense for what it is. So no I don’t believe even you think that is the real purpose here. I think people who support this stuff are full of it.

  • A total load of equine effluvia!

    People do it for the malicious pleasure of turning away people they do not like and receiving social sanction for doing so through religion. The whole point of such laws is to demean and attack gays.

  • In the Klein’s case, they had no objection to serving gays as a regular daily part of their business, their only objection arose when asked to provide a cake for a wedding ( a sacramental event closely linked in Christian practice to obedience towards the will of God and His stipulated precepts for marriage as defined in scripture). However dismayed their putative customers were, named or not named, their complaint reflects an equal if not greater spirit of intolerance, including the lack of appreciation for the legitimately held beliefs of other people. Characterize it as hate if you will, it merely demonstrates a complete misunderstanding on your part of distinction and objective discrimination that harms no one except in their feelings. And hey, we all get our feelings hurt daily…move past it; someone else would surely supply the cake without a thought…problem solved. Move on people, nothing to see here.

  • Then there’s no use continuing to discuss this. You’re projecting your motives on those who don’t share them, and I’ve got lots more than a grade school education. Though I don’t doubt that, in your heart, you believe it’s all true. And someone on the other side can substitute Left for Right and make the identical claims that you have(and I’ve heard many that do).

  • The customers in the Sweet Cakes by Melissa case were having a commitment ceremony, not a wedding, as the latter was not yet legal in Oregon. So for the bakers to say that they see marriage as a sacrament should have been irrelevant. Also, it raises the question, did they object to providing cakes for other weddings that did not adhere to their view of a proper wedding as being a sacrament linked to obedience of God’s will? Certainly, a Jewish wedding, an interfaith wedding, an atheist wedding, a wedding held at city hall, might not be “sacramental” in their view. So once again we’re left with the question: why is this view about gay couples entitled to privilege under the law?

  • It’s very telling that the ONLY place that these “sincere religious beliefs” ever get expressed is when a certain class of so called Christian is required to behave decently, politely, and without any kind of animus or wholly imaginary superiority towards gay people.

    Serving the likes of Kim Davis or newt Gingrich certainly doesn’t bother them.

    Their delicate consciences don’t seem to be bothered at all by demon worshipping Hindus or God rejecting atheists.

    It’s also very telling that these laws excuse the bad behavior of the holy-Hokies, but could actually be deemed somewhat fair if they included a public sign by cash registers, in front windows, and on websites about who these so called Christian would refuse service to, and why. But then, these laws aren’t really about protecting the delicate consciences of these religious people, but protecting their income.

    What may well come out of this is the opposite effect, because the Internet is everywhere.

  • You want to pretend the concept of equal protection under the law doesn’t exist so be it, but reality demonstrates otherwise. I recognize laws which are blatantly discriminatory by their nature. It makes no difference how popular a measure is if it attacks civil liberties. Might makes right is not a legal principle of our laws. Majority rules only to the extent it does not attack rights of political minorities.

    Bigotry and reactionary religion are chief ways politically powerful get poor and working classes riled up to vote for people who attack their economic interests.

  • If you are going to continue with such dishonest rhetoric, I see no need to to continue either. Keep pretending corporate interests have anything to do with upholding concepts of equal protection. It was ridiculous when the author made the point, doubling down on it doesn’t make it more credible.

  • Nope – the general public support this law wholeheartedly. It IS big business and their threats that are the major opposers of this law. I reckon if this law where up to the people for a popular vote – it would win hands down.

  • Every discriminatory law is passed by majority will. It makes it no less pernicious nor constitutional. Repeating the author’s obvious 1ie does not make it true.

    Corporations are feeling pressure from moral decent folk who object to such garbage bills. If not for the economic fallout involved with such discriminatory laws, they would show little concern.

    The premise of the article doesn’t even make the slightest sense. Corporate America is not monolithic or even overtly political beyond their own interests. Why would it be in their interests? Because more people are outraged over this than in support.

    The author’s argument about as half baked, dishonest and p00Rly conceived as every other argument in defense of this sectarian based discrimination.

  • Correct, Indy-Tx, there is no point in your spamming this or any other comment board with those same old anti-gay lies.

  • PJA, you claim “the general public” supports attacks on LGBT Americans–do you mean nationwide? Wrong:

    “As states across the country prepare for legislative battles around LGBT nondiscrimination and religious exemption laws, a new report released today finds that seven in ten (71 percent) Americans—including majorities in all 50 states and 30 major metropolitan areas— support laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodations.

    The landmark survey was conducted by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute as part of its 2015 American Values Atlas. The survey, based on more than 42,000 interviews conducted between May 2015 and early January 2016, explores Americans’ attitudes on same-sex marriage, nondiscrimination laws for LGBT people, and religious exemptions to those laws.”


  • (blush)

    Thank you. You are protecting your own Freedom Of Religion as well. Who would anti-gays attack next?

  • Sorry, Diogenes, the Kleins only objected when their new free lawyers pointed out to them how much money they could make by breaking the law. What makes you think we don’t know this “Alliance” is behind ALL these anti-gay lawbreakers?

  • From a legal standpoint, the fourteenth amendment prohibits individual states from passing laws which are intended to limit liberties exercised by citizens. Because there is no federal law nor any statute in the states which have passed these bills which currently asserts that business owners and/or non-profits and/or houses of worship /must/ serve LGBT citizens – much less any legal penalties specified for such refusal – it follows that there’s no need for a law which “protects” their already-established right to refuse service. Consider this line from the article: “Faith-based adoption agencies will be free to continue placing every child they serve with a married mom and dad.” Key phrase: “Free to continue.” That is to say, they never stopped. It’s a reasonable argument to assert that the laws actually intend to target LGBT citizens – not protect business owners, who are not in need of protection in the first place – which consequently calls into question the laws’ constitutional muster. Laws which encourage the targeting of specific groups of citizens for exclusion generally don’t survive very long in this country.

    Furthermore, from an economic standpoint, a market cannot function efficiently or freely when firms acting within it are encouraged by a regulating body to make decisions which are not in their best interests, consumers’ best interests, or the best interests of the market. To exclude an entire group of consumers and their money from a market is about as not-in-the-best-interests-of-the-market as it comes. It serves to harm the targeted consumers in the short term, and invariably removes their money either from specific firms or from the market entirely – all of which harms all firms and the market in general in the long term. So the economic application of the laws, too, is important to consider. As above: given that the firms were under no previous threat of government penalty if they refused service, it’s reasonable to assert that the law serves not to protect firms, but to encourage refusal of service to specific consumers in the market.

    Speaking for myself – as someone with an educational background in economics, libertarian political leanings, and a career in finance – I find it troubling that these state governments have chosen to pass likely-unconstitutional laws which seem to aim to incite businesses and non-profits to act against their own and their clients’ best economic interests in excluding specific consumers from the market. I also find it frustrating that the “party of small government” feels it’s necessary to pass laws that inject government interference where it was not and is not needed – doing so via legislation which was debated, passed, and eventually will be constitutionally challenged on the taxpayers’ dime, no less.

    Speaking more specifically to this article – it willfully and repeatedly misrepresents several issues.

    First, it excuses Kim Davis’s actions as an employee of the government as simply her taking a moral stance. The reality is that she broke the law by being in breach of duties which she swore, under oath, to perform. There are laws in our country which do address religious accommodation in the workplace, and there’s a /very/ important clause in those laws. You see, religious accommodations must be made…

    “…unless the employer demonstrates that accommodation would result in undue hardship on the conduct of its business.”
    – From 29 CFR 1605.2 – “Reasonable accommodation without undue hardship, per Civil Rights Act of 1964”

    Undue hardship falls under four main categories:

    1: Anything which would represent the employer more than de minimus cost
    2: Anything which makes other employees unable or limited in their ability to do tasks
    3: Anything which limits the employer from serving their clients
    4: Anything which fundamentally undermines/ceases the religious person’s ability to do the job they were hired for.

    Kim Davis violated three out of four of the undue hardship exceptions. Refusing to issue marriage licenses for gay couples forces more work on to her coworkers, because /someone/ has to do that work and the accommodation she’s requesting shifts the entire burden of that work elsewhere (exception 2). In a red state like hers, you might end up with half of the office refusing to issue licenses to gay couples, in which case you would end up with major scheduling issues and long lines, ultimately affecting the ability of gay couples to get their licenses (exception 3). And lastly, it is /part of her job description/ to issue marriage licences to those who are legally eligible for them – whether she morally/spiritually/ethically/religiously approves of the couple’s union is 100% irrelevant. She can’t refuse an interfaith heterosexual couple. She can’t refuse a heterosexual couple that she knows for a fact uses birth control. She can’t refuse a heterosexual couple’s second or third marriage. She can’t refuse a heterosexual couple that she knows the wife is currently cheating. She can’t even refuse a heterosexual couple that she knows for a fact the wife is being physically and sexually abused every single day, as upsetting a situation as that certainly would be. So, no, she doesn’t get to refuse a gay couple, either. Doing so fundamentally undermines/ceases her ability to do her job (exception 4). Her religious beliefs are inconsequential to that reality. If I feel personally convicted enough to refuse to ever sell loans which fall under the biblical definition of usury, then I shouldn’t work at Check’n’Go. If Kim Davis doesn’t want to issue marriage licenses to legally eligible couples, she shouldn’t be a county clerk. Period.

    The article claims these religious liberty laws allow for her accommodation, but the problem is that giving her those accommodations would be and is in /direct contradiction and violation/ of federal law. It’s not a matter of if she /can/ be accommodated. It’s a matter of whether or not demanding so is legal. /Can/ she be accommodated, as a matter of things-which-could-feasibly-occur-in-reality? Yes. Is that demand for accomodation /legal/? Nope.

    The article goes on to claim: “the new law allows private businesses and schools to set their own policies for the use of bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms.” This isn’t just misleading, it’s patently false as it regards North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” – HB2 – which specifically includes the following language

    “To Establish Single-Sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities. – Local boards of education shall establish single-sex multiple occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities.”

    So, no, schools don’t get to decide their own accommodations. In point of fact, HB2 was proposed /in response/ to the fact that several local boards of education were considering doing just that. It /explicitly/ prevents them from doing so.

    The article’s assertion that “the law leaves [Paypal] and other businesses free to make these policies however they see fit,” misses the point entirely, anyway – these businesses aren’t high-tailing it because they don’t want to comply with a law that may or may not apply to them. They have fundamental disagreements with the nature of the law and they don’t want to do business with a state that would pass such a law. Amusingly, the article condemns these businesses for practicing the very thing the author and the state laws claim to support: They’re simply choosing to not do business with people who have fundamentally different moral values than they do. They have every right to do that. Shame on you for attempting to stigmatize their sincerely-held moral beliefs.

    The bill goes on to say:

    “In no event shall that accommodation result in the local boards of
    education allowing a student to use a multiple occupancy bathroom or
    changing facility designated under subsection (b) of this section for a
    sex other than the student’s biological sex.”

    Biological sex, in the NC legislation, is defined exclusively as the sex one was assigned at one’s birth. Think about that. Caitlyn Jenner ( http://imgur.com/gallery/bofuXYx ) and Laverne Cox ( http://i.imgur.com/0McWg7W.jpg ) would be forced to go to a men’s bathroom. Benjamin Melzer ( http://imgur.com/ImgXZ3m ) and Laith Ashley ( http://imgur.com/lUgZByD ) would be forced to go to a women’s bathroom. How comfortable do you think those people with sincerely-held religious beliefs will feel about their presence there? How might they react to seeing someone who looked like Caitlyn or Laverne coming out of a stall, while they’re standing at a urinal? How might they react to coming out of a stall, only to see Benjamin or Laith waiting impatiently to get in?

    Let’s also consider that there are myriad medical conditions which cause people to not look like their own biological sex. I recently found out the manager of a local pharmacy is a woman – I thought she was a man. She’s not transgendered – she just has a medical condition which made her hair fall out. She’s older, she’s very overweight, and she doesn’t have almost any traditionally feminine physical hallmarks – body curvature, soft face, long hair, etc – so she looks just like any older, overweight man. I wonder what would happen if she went into a women’s bathroom in North Carolina?

    Finally, what are people with Klinefelter Syndrome – also known as XXY Syndrome – supposed to do, since they are “biologically” both male and female? Klinefelter affects about .1% – .2% of the population. That doesn’t sound like much – until you consider that there are 330 million people in this country and 7 billion people globally, meaning it affects as many as 660,000 people in the US alone and as many as 14 million people globally.

    Anyway, back to the article again, which says, “Confusion around the new law seems to come from media coverage that fails to distinguish its protections for religious organizations — which do not apply to businesses — from its much narrower policy concerning a handful of small businesses in a specific circumstance: wedding-related vendors in the context of participating in wedding ceremonies.”

    That’s a particularly befuddling statement, since the article itself confuses the laws, /plural/, to which it refers. It talks about both Mississippi’s and North Carolina’s recent laws, but refers to “the new law” in the singular throughout the writing. It’s good that Mississippi, unlike North Carolina as described above, decided not to force the bathroom issue. However, the article’s assertion that it concerns only “a handful of small businesses” is, again, misleading. The actual bill says that the following businesses are specifically protected:

    “Photography, poetry, videography, disc-jockey services, wedding planning, printing, publishing, … Floral arrangements, dress making, cake or pastry artistry, assembly-hall or other wedding venue rentals, limousine or other car-service rentals, jewelry sales and services.”

    That’s not exactly a “small handful.” That represents literally /thousands/ of businesses in Mississippi.

    The bill goes on to devote an entire section (10) to expressing that the person’s religious views will be held sacrosanct to exclusion of all other state constitutional rights and local/state laws except those specifically exempt from the bill (none of which currently are, since it’s a new bill). It also says literally nothing about what can be done about, or even how to identify, a case of mis-use or mis-interpretation of the bill’s contents. This leaves the door wide-open for any business to claim that they are “related” to the business of wedding services, or to claim they heard the clients talking about a wedding and denied service based on the assumption that the clients were being wed. Having read the bill, and considering how granular the detail gets at certain points, it seems very strange to me that they would just…forget to put anything like that in there.

    Just to balance out my response a bit, I will say this – it’s true that Oregon has a law in place that prevents private businesses from discrimating based on sexual orientation or gender identity. I think that’s wrong-headed and I hope the law is overturned. Taking away private businesses’ right to refuse service is unconstitutional, and I think it’s an economically dangerous thing to pursue. When you take away a business’s right to refuse service, you end up with gun shops that can’t refuse to sell to someone they’re afraid is going to use it for evil. You end up with pharmacies that can’t refuse to sell the ingredients for meth. You end up with mega-corporations that can buy out a small business’s entire inventory and leave them incapable of restocking quickly enough to serve their actual clientele, eventually destroying their customer base and leaving them incapable of doing business. But the answer isn’t to pass pre-emptive, needlessly inflammatory legislation that stokes the fires of religious/cultural discontent and incites harrassment against a minority population – which is exactly what Mississippi and North Carolina have done.

  • Great article Jennifer as this is indeed a freedom and Constitutional issue. The homosexuals are not demanding tolerance but are demanding that everyone know must approve, promote, endorse, accept, and now celebrate their deviant and perverted lifestyle. No more are we to be allowed moral objections to that which is clearly immoral.
    Homosexual conduct and sodomy is highly unhealthy and yet somehow we must now promote that which has proven to be deadly and unhealthy. When a group demands that me must approve, accept, endorse, and now promote human conduct that we find to be highly immoral, then you have violated our civil and Constitutional right to make our own decisions in regard to human behavior.
    When one owns a private business or property is not a basic freedom, the right of the business owner to determine code of conduct, terms of business, and conditions of the sale. If any group has the power to demand that they go into your business and tell you the terms of service then that is not freedom but is downright fascist and tyrannical.

  • What the Keins simply decided to do was to exercise a freedom and right we are all supposed to have. The freedom and right to dictate the terms of business, conditions of the sale, and code of conduct on their own property. No other group other than homosexuals has any special rights to dictate how business is to be done on your private property.

    In the market place you are not allowed to discriminate against people but this never meant you had to offer every kind of service and had to accommodate human conduct you morally objected to. They were willing to serve homosexuals who abide by the terms of doing business as everyone else. No where was there ever a right of someone else to now impose the terms of doing business.

  • The Kleins were only exercising a right we are all supposed to have. The right to dictate the terms of doing business and the code of conduct on our private property. They never said no to serving homosexuals as people but said no to a celebration of their immoral human conduct.

  • First these are not so called Christians but are in fact are Christians. We do behave decently, politely, and without animus in declining a celebration of human immoral conduct that we find deviant and perverted. We do not decline service to sodomites as people but decline any form of service that promotes, endorses, approves, and celebrates human behavior that is immoral and unhealthy.

    In essence looking merely to exercise a right that a free country was supposed to have. The right to decline service to your human action and to determine the code of conduct and terms of doing business on our own private property.

    When any group has so much power as the sodomites do in demanding forced approval of their immorality then that is not freedom but is blatant tyranny.

  • Once more a twisting of the facts and typical homo lying. It does not matter whether it was a commitment ceremony or a false marriage ceremony. The ceremony violated the Klein’s terms of doing business. The terms of doing business is one man and one woman marriage ceremonies only. If you want the service then abide by the terms as everyone else.

    All of the Jewish, interfaith, atheist, and other weddings had to abide by the one man and one woman terms of doing business as everyone else. As usual it is the sodomites themselves demanding special privileges as they demand a right that no other American has, the right to violate the terms of doing business.

    Why should sodomite couples have this privilege that no other American has?

  • We are not declining to serve any class of people but are declining to serve celebrations and promotions of their immoral conduct. Actually we do not serve the immoral behavior of other clientele only serve them as people.

    No other group of Americans other that homosexuals demands that we must serve and accommodate the human conduct that we morally are opposed to. So we serve the homos, adulterers, swingers, and pedophiles as people but not their deviant and immoral human conduct.

  • He fails to mention that the adulterer or swinger as clientele only wants to be served as people and never demands that we serve the human conduct. It is the immoral homos who are obsessed with us serving the events that celebrate their immoral human conduct.

  • Actually the point of the law is to protect us from the sodomites who are obsessed with going onto our private property and demanding that we accommodate their immoral human behavior.

    We are not turning them away as people but are refusing service to their immoral conduct.

  • Classic red herring and straw man tactic that has nothing to do with the issue.

  • In a truly free country we are free to discriminate against any human actions, conduct, or behavior we find immoral and object to. Every business already does discriminate against human conduct.

    It is the evil homos who are totalitarian as they demand that they get to impose the homo agenda on the rest of us.

  • MS law is not a discrimination law but protects our freedom to not accommodate and serve the immoral actions of others. All kinds of honest folk refuse service to those who do not abide by the terms of doing business. It is not treating people like dirt in refusing service to those who will not abide by the terms of doing business.

    You have no proof of the general public on your side as we are willing to let the people vote on this.

  • He fails to mention that we are in favor of the general public actually vote on this whereas while he claims public support as usual wants the bill killed and opposes we the people having any say in this matter.

  • As usual complete and total lie as you have lost in ballot elections but rely on rigged polls. You rely on corrupt judges and courts.

  • Your lie has already been debunked and shown to be the lie that it is.

  • This law applies to us in our private businesses as well. You do not give up your freedom of religion when you leave church.

  • The Klein’s were protecting their Constitutional and civil rights. It is their property and one of our basic civil and Constitutional rights is to decline service to anyone not adhering to the terms of doing business, conditions of the sale, and code of conduct.

    If the homos want the service then abide by the one man and one woman terms of doing business as everyone else.

  • It allows us to discriminate against any human conduct that we oppose and to not serve or accommodate any human actions that violate the terms of doing business.

  • We can’t expect the lying sodomites and evil homosexuals to be honest about their attacks on our freedoms and civil liberties. The evil homos are obsessed with the fact that because they engage in sodomy they get liberties that no other American gets.

    1. No where in the US Constitution is there protection for homosexual conduct or does the Constitution protect your immoral behavior.

    2. No where is there a civil or Constitutional right of any group of people a right to go onto your private property and now you dictate the terms of doing business and accommodations of service.

    Everything we have said about the evil homos has shown to be true. The homosexuals chose to be this way and spread the born that way lie to justify their actions. Maybe not mentally ill but sure are choosing to be immoral and to engage in unhealthy human conduct. There is no such thing as sexual orientation as it is a preference and all humans are oriented towards the opposite sex. It is changeable as there are hundreds of thousands who have changed. This is why the homos attack the ex homosexuals and the ones who have changed.

    There is nothing healthy or normal in being homosexual as it is completely non normal, unhealthy, unnatural and these deviant people abuse the natural functions of their bodies. Biology and human anatomy clearly show the reproductive organs are clearly oriented towards the opposite sexed counterpart and not the anus.

    Only sexual deviants and perverts which is what homosexuals are claim the reproductive organs are for the rectum. They are not gay but downright sodomites.