Disappointed in Tollison’s support of HB1523

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I am profoundly disappointed in Sen. Gray Tollison’s support of HB1523. While I understand that religious liberties should be protected, this bill sends a strong message to our LGBT community that we, as Mississippians, can discriminate against them by law, and it is already bringing tremendous fallout in terms of economic gain for businesses for our state. I would think that the chairman of the Education Committee for our great state (still No. 50 in education), legislators would understand that we are reaching back to a Jim Crow model of discrimination against our fellow citizens and calling it religious freedom.

How embarrassing, and ironically, how immoral.

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As a native Mississippian, it is heartbreaking to watch grown men and women in the state legislature, many with college degrees like Tollison, aggressively pursue such a breathtakingly backward agenda. We now have multiple travel bans for our state, film projects being canceled, businesses at the local, state and national level decrying this bill, all because it is bad for business.

It is also mystifying that with all of the talk about reading and following the Constitution these days, that this law is inherently UN-Constitutional. (We’ll be hearing more about that shortly).

It seems to me that if we would like to avoid encroachment from the wicked federal government, and “get off the (perennial) government teat,” that we would at least consider the tremendous economic consequences of these actions. For a state that receives the most federal dollars, it seems deeply hypocritical to fire off populist legislation that kills any chance of fostering self-sustaining revenue.

I would ask that our legislators search their conscience in a quiet moment and reflect: was it worth it? Is this what’s truly best for all Mississippians? Or just a few of us?

Only time will tell if the damage can be undone.

Beth Spencer