Editorials

Mississippi, not the NCAA, should dump ‘religious freedom’ law

Protesters call for Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant to veto House Bill 1523, which they says will allow discrimination against LGBT people, during a rally outside the Governor's Mansion in Jackson in April.
Protesters call for Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant to veto House Bill 1523, which they says will allow discrimination against LGBT people, during a rally outside the Governor's Mansion in Jackson in April. AP

It should be clear to everyone Mississippi does not need a bill to protect anyone’s religious freedoms.

The results are in. Mississippi is one of the most religious states in the United States.

We haven’t heard of any gay or transgender or lesbian or transsexual trying to take away anyone’s religious freedoms. The “religious freedom” law, commonly known as HB 1523, is the classic solution in search of a problem.

We agree with those who applauded Rep. Scott DeLano at the Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce Legislative Preview when he said it was time to move on and concentrate on making the Coast better.

Rep. Doug McLeod of Lucedale is a different matter. The Republican who represents George and Stone counties is so upset over the NCAA’s treatment of North Carolina, he wants to pull Mississippi’s universities out of the NCAA. He thinks the governing body of college athletics has become too political, primarily because it decided to move seven championships from North Carolina after it enacted a law restricting transgender bathroom access.

The NCAA saw that law for what it was — another attempt to infringe on the civil rights of the LGBT community.

We know our universities aren’t about to leave the NCAA. Their leaders are too smart to make such a blunder.

And lawmakers shouldn’t try to force them to leave. We’re confident they won’t.

In his defense, not all of McLeod’s ideas are kooky. He argues for the importance of better roads and bridges. He wants to help us lure cross-state travelers down to the Coast on their way to Alabama and beyond.

But he also says he doesn’t much care what other folks think of Mississippi.

We do. We envision our state as something better than a punchline on late-night TV.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

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