/Biloxi, Greenwood may take stand against religious freedom law

Biloxi, Greenwood may take stand against religious freedom law

The new state law, which takes effect July 1, is supported by supporters. It protects freedom from anyone whose religious convictions prevent them from offering business or legal services for same-sex couples who want to marry. The law recognizes marriage to be the union of one man or one woman. It also states that gender is determined at birth. Opponents claim the law discriminates against transgender, gay and lesbian communities. “H.B. “H.B. 1523 broadly allows for State sanctioned discrimination against certain orientations or transgender people or groups so long as the discriminatory acts or beliefs are not clearly defined.” The Greenwood resolution states. Carolyn McAdams, Greenwood mayor, stated that she hopes the resolution will be approved unanimously by the city council. McAdams stated that she believes the inspiration was derived from doing right and standing up for what is right. “I cannot help but be inspired by what the governor has done and the legislature have done. But the city of Greenwood and the council here, we are in total unity on this. All seven members.” Biloxi’s resolution is similar to Greenwood’s and both states each city’s commitment towards inclusion and diversity. The resolution from Biloxi asks the state legislature to repeal House Bill 15.23. Some members of Biloxi’s council are uncomfortable about this move because the legislature will decide how to split the $150 million installment of the BP oil-spill settlement. This is due to arrive in 60 days. Robert L. Deming III, a member of the Biloxi City Council (Republican from Ward 4), stated that “Here in Biloxi we will be looking to Jackson to fund the projects which we have here along the coast.” “We will be requesting a lion’s share of the BP settlement funds, and some council members wonder if it would be prudent to drive a wedge in the middle of Jackson and the coast. “My mom taught me to choose your battles wisely. I don’t think this is the right one.” However, Felix Gines (District 2) from Biloxi said that this resolution was not about money for state. “That shouldn’t matter. Gines stated that right is right and wrong are wrong. “If the legislature is going to block money from an illegal bill, which it is, if they are trying to do us wrong, they will come back and get them sooner than expected. “You’re supposed do what’s right regardless of whether it hurts you or helps you,” Deming stated. This is for him and other city council members. The resolution is meant to protect Biloxi. Deming stated that he thinks it’s foolish to do so at this time, when we should be looking out for the best interests Biloxi. While these social issues are important to many, there are other important issues we must pay attention to. What is the old adage, “Looking at people we are essentially going out to condemn with this resolution, and then running around asking them for the lion’s share of funding? “You catch more flies using honey than vinegar,” Biloxi’s resolution asked the legislature to repeal the state law. However, the resolution doesn’t have any effect on local or state law. These resolutions may be more effective for opponents to the controversial legislation. Some people claim these resolutions are not binding and that they don’t have the teeth of a codified law. But I believe that these resolutions communicate to the business community, the people who may be moving there, that their town welcomes them, is open for business,” Rob Hill, director, Human Rights Campaign for Mississippi. “And I worry about 1523’s psychological impact on young people who may be struggling with their sexual identity or gender identity. So these resolutions and any type of statement in support of this horrible legislation are welcome,” said Gines. The legislation signed by Bryant on April 5 had a huge impact in Biloxi, Mississippi and other coastal cities where tourism is a $1.6 million industry. Each of the mayors of Biloxi, Gulfport and Gulfport has publicly opposed the law. “Well, I hope it helps us. Gines stated that we are in the tourism industry down here. “I know there are a few council members who don’t want us voting on it, but the mayor has already opposed it. It’s almost like the civil rights movement. Where would it be if the whites hadn’t volunteered to sit at the lunch counter? “It’s now for us to sit down at the counter,” Butch Brown, Natchez’s mayor, said. Although the resolution of his city cannot override state law, business owners in Natchez still have the legal right not to serve religiously-motivated customers. He said that the resolution was still necessary for the city to be independent from the state, even if it was symbolic. “We are proud of what our city did. We as a city said that the community surrounding us doesn’t follow the legislation passed. Brown stated that we are a welcoming community and are pleased with the direction we are heading. “I wouldn’t say that laws don’t apply to me. “We as a community feel that we are a diverse, open, and understanding community. We’ll continue to live this way regardless.”_x000D