Editorials

The best way to fight HB 1523 — don’t use it

Protesters call for Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant to veto House Bill 1523, which they say will allow discrimination against LGBT people, during a rally outside the Governor's Mansion in Jackson in April 2016.
Protesters call for Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant to veto House Bill 1523, which they say will allow discrimination against LGBT people, during a rally outside the Governor's Mansion in Jackson in April 2016. AP

You can’t hurry love, The Supremes sang. And you can’t legislate it either, we are quick to add.

Love is not a crime. Love defies regulation. People will fall in love regardless of laws written by men and women and decrees issued by judges.

And yet, we have HB 1523.

The government’s narrative is the law will protect certain deeply held religious beliefs. But let’s talk about what HB 1523 really is.

Our leaders didn’t just wake up one day and see an injustice and decide to right it. No, they awoke one day to find the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that same-sex marriage is legal.

“Throughout history, states have had the authority to regulate marriage within their borders,” Gov. Phil Bryant said in a statement issued shortly after the ruling in June of 2015. “Today, a federal court has usurped that right to self-governance and has mandated that states must comply with federal marriage standards — standards that are out of step with the wishes of many in the United States and that are certainly out of step with the majority of Mississippians.”

That HB 1523 was sent to Bryant’s desk during the next legislative session was no coincidence. The law was a retort to the Supreme Court.

And, it will not stop men from marrying the men they love, women from loving the women they love.

Perhaps Bryant truly believes there are so many business people and government employees opposed to gay marriage that they are bound to cross paths with a gay or lesbian couple wanting a cake or a marriage license.

So far, such encounters have been rare across the U.S. If there has been a single case of someone trying to force someone to bake a cake against their will in Mississippi, it has escaped our notice.

In the latest Gallup poll on the matter, a solid majority of Americans are OK with same-sex marriage, including majorities of both Catholics and Protestants.

Soon after HB 1523 was passed by the Legislature, business after business on the Coast made it clear that everyone — straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning — is welcome in their stores.

Bravo. We hope that continues. That is one way to fight this wrongheaded law. After all, it doesn’t say you have to discriminate, it just says you can.

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

  Comments