Mississippi Travel Advisory
GetEQUAL Mississippi -- a statewide grassroots social justice organization working toward the full equality of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Mississippians -- has issued a "travel alert" to any LGBT person planning travel to the the state. This alert has been issued based on the fact that Mississippi is on the cusp of passing Senate Bill 2681 -- the so-called "Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act" -- through the House, and then sending it to the governor for signature or veto.
Similar bills have been introduced in other states across the country, and all have failed to pass. A nearly identical bill was passed through the Arizona legislature, only to be vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer. Civil rights and legal groups across the country have denounced these "license to discriminate" bills as unconstitutional.
"This bill is progressing at a very rapid rate, making my beautiful state a potentially dangerous place for anyone perceived as ’different’ from the right-wing extremists who have crafted this bill," said Zach Magee, an organizer with GetEQUAL Mississippi and a Mississippi native. "While the LGBT community -- including both residents and visitors -- will be negatively impacted by this bill, it is also a license to discriminate against any group seen as ’different,’ including women, racial or ethnic minorities, or immigrants. Religious freedom, in my eyes, does not mean blatant discrimination of any kind -- unfortunately, discrimination is a fundamental part of this bill."
In response to a unanimous Senate vote for this bill and the swift movement of the bill to the Mississippi House, GetEQUAL Mississippi has issued the following travel alert for all LGBT people planning travel to Mississippi. This extends to families, tourists, casino travelers, meeting planners, hotel staff, convention-goers, business travelers, and all others who might be considering travel to the area.