March 31, 2016
Washington, DC – The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the global LGBT community, stands with our corporate partners and local business leaders in disbelief and anger that the Mississippi legislature has passed the most broadly discriminatory anti-LGBT legislation yet proposed in America. NGLCC demands Governor Phil Bryant veto this bill as a moral and economic imperative for the citizens of Mississippi.
“Despite seeing the intense economic backlash that the business community is currently unleashing in North Carolina and the fact that Georgia’s Governor understood well the negative impact his state faced had he not vetoed a similar bill, the government of Mississippi has foolishly decided that hatred and discrimination is more valuable than the protection and dignity of its citizens,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson. “This law isn’t a protection from “government discrimination” as its name implies; it’s government sanctioned discrimination that will have lasting effects on the economic well-being of the state. Religion is being used for the most immoral purpose possible: the denigration of entire populations to second-class citizens based on fear and propaganda. This is the most discriminatory bill we’ve seen introduced, and should serve as a shocking reminder to anyone not yet convinced that the fight for equality in America continues long after marriage rights have been granted by the United States Supreme Court.”
If signed in to law, Mississippi’s H.B. 1523 would allow religious convictions to be used to openly discriminate against LGBT people, as well single mothers, unwed couples, and those in dire medical conditions. Using tax-payer dollars, religious institutions would be legally protected should they decide to not recognize the legality of same-sex marriages; refuse to place children with qualified, deserving LGBT families; and deny housing and public services to anyone, even if the institution receives grants and subsidies from the government. The bill also sanctions the use of dangerous and medically disproven “conversion therapy” to “cure” LGBT people.
“NGLCC will never stop asserting pressure in partnership with our Fortune 500 allies and the estimated 1.4 million businesses in this nation that are owned by LGBT people to defeat any law that sanctions discrimination such as HB1532,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & CEO Chance Mitchell. “These shameful laws erode our vibrant and inclusive economy as they force LGBT citizens to look over their shoulder in fear, rather than ahead in hopes for a better future. We call on Governor Bryant, and all legislators nationwide considering such heinous bills, to remember that their economy succeeds only when there is a fully engaged and protected workforce and supply chain, free from fear and discrimination.”
NGLCC previously organized support and calls for actions by the corporate sector and LGBT owned businesses in reaction to similar so-called “religious freedom” laws in North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, and more.
The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global not-for-profit advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT-owned businesses. www.nglcc.org | @NGLCC
Vice President of External Affairs
National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
The statement can be accessed as a PDF here.