Governor Phil Bryant has signed HB 1532, a bill that could allow a range of individuals; corporations; healthcare providers; and nonprofit organizations—including those that receive taxpayer funding to perform social services—to refuse to provide goods and services to same sex couples; single mothers; divorcees; and anyone who has had sex outside of marriage and their families, into law.
These are just a few examples of the claims that could be made under this law and the types of discrimination it could sanction:
- a taxpayer-funded adoption agency could refuse to place a child with a happy and loving family because the parents lived together before they were married;
- a taxpayer-funded organization that provides shelter to kids who have suffered child abuse could turn away a pregnant teenager;
- a counseling group practice could refuse to see a mother and her teen who is experiencing severe depression because the woman is unmarried;
- a counselor could refuse to help a gay teenager who called a suicide hotline;
- a fertility clinic could refuse to treat a veteran and his partner because they are not married; and
- a car rental agency could refuse to rent a car to a same-sex couple on their honeymoon.
We are disappointed that Governor Bryant chose to scorn the state's slogan, the "South's warmest welcome," in favor of discrimination.