Submitted by Field Organizer Harry Hawkins
Earlier this month, HRC hosted its first Lobby Day at the Mississippi State Capitol for members and supporters to engage with their elected leaders around issues that affect the LGBTQ community in Mississippi.
After attending House and Senate convenings, our team hosted a bipartisan roundtable lunch with legislators to discuss LGBTQ issues in our state. We spoke about the ongoing legal battle surrounding anti-LGBTQ HB 1523, which passed in the 2016 legislative session. HB1523, deceptively titled “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” enables almost any individual or organization to discriminate against LGBTQ Mississippians at work, at school and in their communities. Although the law has been blocked from implementation due to legal proceedings scheduled for next month at the Fifth Circuit, it continues to be a threat to the LGBTQ community until it is permanently eliminated.
For many legislators, this was the first time to sit down with members of an LGBTQ advocacy organization. We hope that it won’t be the last, as HRC plans to continue these conversations with legislators and other elected leaders.
With continued engagement, we believe that these conversations will encourage legislators to make Mississippi a place where all people, no matter who they are or who they love, can feel safe and welcome.