In a letter posted to Facebook, Kate Cochran, the daughter of Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran, criticized Governor Phil Bryant for signing the deeply discriminatory HB 1523 into law.
“When the state legislature passed and you signed into law HB 1523, I was appalled. The bill seems obviously discriminatory against those in the LGBT community,” she wrote. “The fact that you signed this bill during ‘Confederate Heritage Month,’ and almost two years to the day after signing the similar Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is acutely embarrassing. There is simply no need to continue defending the religious rights of people who already enjoy full rights under the law.”
HB 1523, or the so-called “Religious Liberty Accommodations Act,” allows almost any individual or organization to use religion as a justification to discriminate against LGBT Mississippians in some of the most important aspects of their lives, including at work, at school, and in their communities.
“Of the many, many issues Mississippi faces (poverty, illiteracy, crumbling infrastructure, etc.), extolling the Confederacy and protecting a majority religious group should not be prioritized,” she continued. “These items make us appear more than foolish: to the rest of the country, we seem to want to revel in ignorance and prejudice.”
Major corporations, including The Coca-Cola Company, Northrop Grumman, Intel, Replacements, Ltd, Nissan Group of North America, Tyson Food Inc, MGM Resorts International, AT&T, IBM, MassMutual and Toyota, have publicly voiced their opposition to the appalling legislation. Gov. Bryant also ignored the call of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association to veto the discriminatory measure. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has joined an effort to get more CEOs to speak publicly against the law, and top executives from Microsoft and IBM have asserted that the law is bad for business.
“In your final three years in office, I would ask that you work to solve our actual problems and to choose to celebrate our state’s merits, which do not include the Confederacy nor state-sanctioned intolerance,” she concluded. “I recognize the difficulty and complexity of your position as Governor, but I hope that you will make more compassionate and well-considered decisions in future.”