Each week, HRC Mississippi hears from leaders in communities across the state who want assistance in making their city or town a more welcoming and inclusive place. That is why a group of citizens gathered recently in Greenwood, determined to make a difference in their city. HRC Mississippi staff was honored to be present for this important conversation.
This work is more important than ever since a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way for anti-LGBTQ H.B. 1523 to become law in Mississippi, making it the worst anti-LGBTQ state law in the U.S. The law, deceptively titled the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” enables almost any individual or organization to use religion as a justification to discriminate against LGBTQ Mississippians at work, at school and in their communities.
Additionally, Mississippi has no comprehensive state laws, which protect citizens from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity at work, in housing and in places of public accommodation.
Municipalities have the opportunity to send the opposite message by passing comprehensive non-discrimination ordinances, which prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity at work, in housing and in places of public accommodations on the municipal level.
HRC’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of the LGBTQ people who live and work there. Many of these policy changes included in the MEI can be made at minimal cost, but pay dividends in productivity and retention.
These protections aren’t just good for business; they’re the right thing to do because it ensures that everyone is treated equally.
We look forward to working with the team in Greenwood and around the state until Mississippi truly becomes the hospitality state.