‘This is not politics, it’s human rights.’
This Tuesday, the state of Mississippi passed its Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act. The law was enacted to “protect” people who hold three specific religious beliefs: marriage is between a man and a woman; sex should only happen within such a marriage; and that a person is male or female based on their anatomy at birth. Because these “religious beliefs” are now protected, it’s legal in Mississippi to deny LGBT people marriage, adoption and foster care services. It also makes it legal to fire or refuse to hire LGBT people and decline to sell or rent them property.
Since the bill was signed into law, the states of Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington and three cities, San Francisco, Seattle, and Santa Fe have banned officials from any state-funded, nonessential travel to Mississippi. Yesterday, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres took a moment to explain her feelings about the bill in her opening monologue on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. DeGeneres’ decision to discuss such a hot-button political topic was a brave decision and presented the issue to an audience that many not have LGBT rights on their radars.
“I’m not a political person, but this is not politics, it’s human rights. And when I see something wrong I have to talk about it,” DeGeneres said. After explaining what the law means, she sent a message of hope to LGBT people in Mississippi and North Carolina. “I grew up in the south, right next door in Louisiana. I used to go to Mississippi all the time as a kid… So if you’re in Mississippi or North Carolina or anywhere and you’re saddened by the fact that people are judging you based on who you love, don’t lose hope. I was fired for being gay and I know what it feels like. I lost everything, but look at me now.”