The governor of Mississippi has signed into law a highly controversial anti-LGBT bill, that allows businesses to legally refuse service to same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs.
The new bill means that a gay person living in the state can be refused service in a shop, or even medical assistance in a hospital, so long as that couple’s existence conflicts with the “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” of the business owner.
“Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth,” the bill states.
While individuals, businesses and charities may decline to provide services to LGBT customers, the bill still requires the state government to provide services – although it does allow government employees to opt out of providing services individually.
“This is a sad day for the state of Mississippi and for the thousands of Mississippians who can now be turned away from businesses, refused marriage licenses, or denied housing, essential services and needed care based on who they are,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi said in a statement.
“This bill flies in the face of the basic American principles of fairness, justice and equality and will not protect anyone’s religious liberty.”