Gay Marriage

Mississippi's New LGBT Law Is About Protecting Only Certain Religious Beliefs

This is not a religious freedom act.

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Gov. Phil Bryant
Gov. Phil Bryant. Source: USDA

Republican Mississippi  Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a new bill into law in his state that lets religious people and institutions discriminate in some areas on the basis of attitudes toward homosexuality and transgender identities.

It can be complicated to evaluate what these laws do. What Mississippi has approved is very different from what Georgia's legislature approved (and was then vetoed by the governor) and what North Carolina approved. I'll get basic about it.

To start, this is not a "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" (RFRA). Those acts (which was mostly what Georgia passed) mimic a federal law that allows individuals to use their religious beliefs as a defense against complying with certain laws. It's not a perfect defense—the government must then respond by showing that the law meets a compelling government interest and that the law is the least intrusive way of meeting that interest. An RFRA is not a "do whatever you want" exemption for any religion.

HB 1523 starts by making it clear that its goal is to protect three beliefs in particular, not the right to live life based on one's religion as a whole. Those three beliefs are:

  • Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman;
  • Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and
  • Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.

It then implements regulations that protect some behaviors based on these beliefs:

  • Religious organizations (churches, religious schools and hospitals, et cetera) cannot be accused of discrimination on the basis of making decisions based on the above beliefs. Religious organizations cannot be forced to solemnize same-sex marriages or provide services or accommodations for them. They can make hiring and firing decisions based on these beliefs (which I guess means they can fire single people for having sex if they want). They can make decisions on selling or renting property on the basis of these beliefs.
  • The government cannot discriminate against religious foster and adoption agencies for decisions on where to place children based on the above mentioned beliefs. Furthermore the state cannot discriminate against a potential foster or adoptive parent on the basis of them sharing the above beliefs and intending to raise a child based on these religious beliefs.
  • The government cannot take action against therapists or medical professionals for refusing to provide their services if it violates the above beliefs. This doesn't mean that doctors can just refuse to provide medical care in general for gays and transgender people. It means therapists don't have to counsel those who want to switch genders over this process, doctors do not have to perform the surgery, and fertility services may be refused for a same-sex couple looking to reproduce through non-traditional means.
  • Businesses that provide goods and services for weddings cannot be forced to serve couples (presumably same-sex couples, but I guess it would also apply to polyamorous ceremonies, should they come up) if the business owner has a sincere religious belief of the three mentioned above.
  • The state cannot stop businesses and schools from deciding whether to accommodate transgender individuals in facilities like bathrooms or lockers or to establish sex-specific access guidelines based on the above beliefs. Furthermore, the law also indicates that businesses and schools can set "dress and grooming" guidelines, which appears to mean that schools can outright forbid transgender students from even dressing as their preferred sex.
  • The state cannot punish its own government employees for refusing to hand out marriage licenses or refusing to solemnize wedding ceremonies if doing so would violate the above religious beliefs (as what happened with Kim Davis). However, the law requires that they must formally recuse themselves in writing, and the courts are responsible for making sure that the couples who want to get legally married (as in, same-sex couples) may still do so.

That's a lot of stuff to consider, and some of the consequences are not entirely clear. Does this mean that if a religious couple wanted to adopt an openly gay teen and declare that they're going to pursue "conversion" therapy to try to turn the kid straight, would it be against this law for a state agency to use that as a reason not to place the teen with them?

This all has much broader implications in some ways than what passed in North Carolina, so we'll see what happens next. Today PayPal announced it was going to abandon plans to expand and open a center in Charlotte because of the law North Carolina passed. 

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  1. What type of conversions a parents has and does for their child (religious or lifestyle) is none of the state’s business unless the state categorically can show it amounts to torture or the like.

    1. On the other hand, for most of human history, a 14-year-old would not have been considered a child.

      1. OMWC is either elated or disgusted by this news.

        1. 14 is WAY too old for OMWC.

          1. Yes they’ve long lost their new baby smell by then.

            1. That’s the smell of piss, shit, and sour milk?

              1. OMWC will be in his bunk

              2. I never thought it’d get worse than my nephew puking up my SIL’s breastmilk on me, until he started puking up the Cheez It-scented Similac she’s feeding him now.

                1. That’s not too bad. The very first thing I did to my dad was puke on his face. I was just fed, and they handed me to him and boom…. right in the kisser.

      2. Richard the Lionheart was a knight since his early teens and “by age 16, Richard had taken command of his own army, putting down rebellions in Poitou against his father”

        Can you imagine saluting to a 14-16 year old officer in the military?

        1. Can you imagine organizing a rebellion, finding out they’ve sent the King’s 14-16 yr. old son to deal with you, and then losing?

          I can only assume this is how idiots demanding safe spaces from their king were dealt with.

        2. Since most people didn’t live past 40, it probably didn’t seem too weird.

    2. If I was a child and my parents tried to convert me to something I didn’t want to, I’d be quite glad if the state took care of them for me.

      A child’s religious life belongs to them, not their parents. If a parent infringes on their child’s property rights the state ought to take action to prevent the theft.

      1. Children’s conduct is subject to regulation by parents.

        There are limits to such regulation. We don’t let parents beat their children with whips or drop them in icy rivers, but parents can broadly regulate their children’s conduct without govt interference.

        If parents want a child to go to church, the child can accept that and try to learn from the experience. If the child cannot accept going to church, the child can petition for emancipation or wait it out the child turns 18 and then leave the household.

      2. The state infringes on both directions; parents must feed, shelter and clothe said child, child must obey parent within reasonable bounds. Can’t remove one without the other.

    3. Furthermore we are talking about adoption. Pretty sure the kid can just straight up say no they don’t want someone to become their parents- so the only way this could possibly happen is if the kid agrees with the parents- freedom.

  2. Most people want freedom for themselves, and not for everyone else.

    News at eleven.

  3. Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.

    Seems like the science is settled on this one.

    1. Then there should be no need to pass a law stating as much…

      1. You’d think so.

    2. Explain hermaphrodites (Intersex) people then in scientific terms please. I guess under this law they just don’t exist.

      1. A red herring. True hermaphrodites really have nothing to do with the issue the law is attempting to address.

      2. They are neither male(man) nor female(woman). They are intersex, as you note. Why is this difficult?

        They are not mentioned in the law as no one is trying to alter the meaning of the term ‘intersex’ to include things that are not intersex.

      3. I guess under this law they just don’t exist.

        If our betters don’t explicitly tell us how to behave in each and every instance with complete internal consistency, we might have to think for ourselves or worse… other people might think for themselves!

  4. This looks like a classic case of zealots shooting themselves in the dick. It is too complex, covers too many specifics. The unintended consequences will be legion and before long its supporters will be callin for repeal.

    Of course the same is true for the jackboots who forced the cakeries to cater to gays.

    Top down social engineering, works every time just not the way the engineers intend.

    1. The main difference is that Mississippi is allowing people the option of either recognizing, or not recognizing, same-sex marriage, polygamy, trans-this or trans that, etc.

      Which is different from *requiring* people to adopt a “modern,” “enlightened” view of marriage, sex and gender…OR ELSE!

      I don’t see much moral equivalence here.

      1. It does help preserve freedom of association.

    2. How is saying people can’t be punished by the state for these beliefs social engineering? Are we of the position people should be punished by the state for beliefs?

  5. The government cannot…The state cannot…cannot be forced

    A law limiting what the state can do to citizens? That’s the good kind of law.

  6. Wait, you mean about protecting the children. Aren’t all laws about protecting the children?

    1. Only the good ones.

  7. It can be complicated to evaluate what these laws do.

    You mean “religious” laws? Obviously, they do the Will of God.

    1. One set of laws for God, one set for Caesar, and one set for the peasants.

      1. What could be fairer than that?

  8. OT: How can Twitter live stream NFL games? It seems they’d be really chopped up.

    1. They can compress the video. Basically you don’t get all of the pixels but it fills in the blanks and the difference is fairly negligible to the human eye.

      1. It’s amazing what meaning can be held in 140 characters.

  9. I’ll get behind these laws as soon as someone can give me a good reason why one’s religious objection should be given any more credence than one’s ‘I’m an asshole and I don’t like you’ objection. I am stymied by how some think that the answer to a problem, caused by the government creating special classes of people, is for the government to create additional special classes of people.

    1. I’ll get behind these laws as soon as someone can give me a good reason why one’s religious objection should be given any more credence than one’s ‘I’m an asshole and I don’t like you’ objection.

      1A. It’s a reason. Didn’t say it was a good one.

      1. *** rising intonation ***

        What if The Hyperbole is “I’m an asshole and I don’t like you”, um, -ish?

        More seriously, how can the 1A be rectified with the State’s apparent “higher power” to legitimize “religious beliefs”?

      2. The First Amendment has jack-all to do with non-discrimination laws.

    2. Your right of course. One might hope though that this could lead to an acceptance of Freedom of Association. Especially when people figure out that they have the power to punish those that discrimate. Not counting chickens though. Be quite the shitshow in the meantime though.

    3. You mean like expanding government involvement in marriage to be between any two adults vs. eliminating government involvement in marriage altogether? Sounds good.

      1. Yes, SLD – government-marriage-yadda-yadda, but I don’t believe that that is an apples to apples comparison, The government may have created a special class, i.e. “married people” but expanding that group to include same sex couples doesn’t add another special class it merely expands who can join a previously existing one, a small distinction, certainly, but not a wholly irrelevant one.

        1. If the bakery turns down a straight couples wedding cake order they’re just shit out of luck and have to go elsewhere.

          1. Unless they order a Nazi wedding cake then GayJay’s got their back.

          2. In Mississippi sure, because despite legislators feeling they need this law, Mississippi doesn’t actually have any non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation.

            But Oregon or Colorado (the locations of Sweet Cakes by Melissa and Masterpiece Cakeshop)? The straight couple would have the same right to sue as the rejected gay couple.

            1. You in Mississippi now…

    4. The ship of Free Association sailed many, many moons ago.

      I’m sad to say that tribalism is the new/old order of the era and everything must be viewed in that context.

      1. Well a lot of the new tribes really hate the other tribes so much they may demand the right to discriminate. Although like the religiuos tribes they’ll no doubt want the exclusive rights to do so.

        1. “Well a lot of tribes really hate the other tribes so they may demand the right to discriminate.”

          And they should be free to do so. If Christians who object to performing a service that violates their religious beliefs want to refuse to do business with a potential patron because they take issue with the beliefs and actions of said patrons they should be free to lose the potential income.

          The same can be said for any other group of philosophically(in the broader sense) like-minded business owners.

          You won’t do business with me because I’m not black/gay/atheist/have purple hair/ ect, ect….fine. More power to you.

          I’ll reserve the right to point that out to as many people as possible so that they know you’re a bigoted asshole and we’ll agree to let the market decide on the success of your business.

          1. For the record, AJB, I’m not accusing you of being a bigoted asshole. I’m fairly familiar with your posting history and have never encountered any of your statements that would lead me to believe that. I was just making a statement on the mindset as a whole.j

            1. j? Sure, fuck it, why not?

              Typos are part and parcel with me. 😉

            2. Oh I’m an asshole, just not a bigoted one:) I agree with what you said 100%. Let shunning and shamming take care of it. Government need not be involved. I was pointing out the sjw’s are all haters so they may not be as opposed to freedom of association that the left has traditionally been but no doubt they, like Christians will only want it to apply to themselves.

              1. On that issue, I agree. I think SJW’s and conservative Christians would be horrified at how similar their overall mindsets are.

                They both operate under the assumption that humankind is inherently evil and must be controlled by top-down force in order maintain a functioning society.

                1. Guess which one has an Original Sin doctrine and which one hates white males as the source of the world’s evils? At least the Christians agree that everyone is theoretically equally fucked up lol

          2. “I’ll reserve the right to point that out to as many people as possible so that they know you’re a bigoted asshole and we’ll agree to let the market decide on the success of your business.”

            I always point this out to supporters of government-enforced tolerance laws. I mean, if a business owner wants to exclude a perfectly good segment of the market (blacks, gays, etc.) and let the competition scoop up those dollars, why stop them? In fiercely competitive markets, I doubt any business would survive for very long if they arbitrarily decided that they won’t accept money from certain groups and people sympathetic to those groups.

            1. “I doubt any business would survive for very long if they arbitrarily decided that they won’t accept money from certain groups and people sympathetic to those groups.”

              In most metropolitan areas I’d say that would undoubtedly be true. In many homogenized rural communities, maybe not. But I believe that the pressure from the media and dessenting citizens would eventually correct that line of thinking if it was brought to the attention of the general public.

              1. So… these issues tend to work themselves out over time – at least in a free society which we still sort of are. Imagine that.

              2. Indiana Pizza place was in a small rural town. Got shut down because they got asked if they would bake a gay wedding pizza, and said no to the hypothetical, and outrage fracas ensued. I’m just not that worried that blatantly discriminatory things won’t get out at this point in time, since it brings news organizations so much money to shine a light on it, and allows the coastal elites to do chest beating and virtue signaling.

                1. So, you’re just skipping the part where they shut down for like a day or two, got hundreds of thousands of dollars from supporters, and opened back up without issue?

            2. Bigoted Businessmen essentially are acting to punish themselves. We should just LET them do that, but for some reason a significant segment of the population wants to be the ones punishing the bigots on their own terms.

      2. Most of this isn’t even about gays and trannies. It’s about progressive’s war on Christians, and Christian values. Unlimited bureaucratic social engineering like Stalin and Mao implemented doesn’t work so well when people have actual morals and values. As opposed to whatever pablum the state feeds the masses to indoctrinate them.

    5. Or why an Atheist marriage vendor couldn’t refuse service to Christians because of their sincerely held belief that Christians are assholes.

      Because its not about freedom of association. Same reason almost none of these people are calling for the repeal of federal anti-discrimination laws protecting Christians from discrimination.

      1. Hypthetical atheist marriage vendor would be a state employee no? Thus, in a wholly different legal position from the cake people. Your point is invalid, I’m afraid.

        1. When you accept certain types of employment like govt. jobs, working in emergency services, etc., you waive most of your rights to freedom of association while on the job, So you are correct.

    6. Seems like the perfect is the enemy of the good here. The religious are already a protected class, of course. But this law is different from those special class rules which grant power to take people’s property and force their compliance. This law limits the state itself. They are only a special class in the sense that the govt doesn’t violate their rights quite so much. Hard to see how adding limits to state authority over people can lead down a slope of some kind. In one sense it removes some of the opposition to authoritarianism, but in another sense it sets a precedent for people to see that racist dystopia doesn’t appear the day after the govt gets its guns away from everyone’s heads. Though I guess the way modern news works, there will be left-wing echo chambers that will try to convince people that the dystopia does come.

      1. By reason’s logic here we should be against the first amendment because it limits the states power in restricting religion creating a special class. It’s a pretty fucking retarded article.

    7. So, principled Libertarians oppose a law protecting legitimate religious liberty from govt intrusion because not all liberties are so protected?

      The usual circular libertarian firing squad is in operation, I see.

      And we wonder why we never win elections.

      1. We don’t win because our Reason Party organ transplants is staffed by faux-libertarians who want to win brownie points from their hip, progressive peers.

      2. So, principled Libertarians oppose a law protecting legitimate religious liberty from govt intrusion because not all liberties are so protected?

        When *by design* the rights of only *some* are protected, it’s indistinguishable from *privilege*.

  10. The Gays, and The Xiantians, and the Azians, are no longers oppressed 11111111111111111

    Cruysify them 11111111

    1. Or Crustyfy them.

  11. Doesn’t enumerating specific religious beliefs for special protection violate the Establishment Clause?

    1. Thank you, Dan.

      1. First we have to establish that the state must be absolutely neutral between regular marriage and new-fangled variants,* or between people who think you can’t change yourself by wishing it so, and those who think you can.

        And the bill refers to religious beliefs *and* “moral convictions.”

        *or old-fangled variants like polygamy.

        1. change yourself – change your sex

        2. change yourself – change your sex

        3. change yourself – change your sex

        4. change yourself – change your sex

        5. change your sex not just change yourself

  12. The state cannot punish its own government employees for refusing to hand out marriage licenses or refusing to solemnize wedding ceremonies…

    You know who failed to punish people for not doing their jobs?

    1. The State ?????????????

    2. Um… something something Nuremberg?

        1. I’m normally the Heart of Darkness but I have a cold.

      1. – 1 Emo, cutter, vampire wannbe, gothic, faggot with daddy issues.

        1. But…. Was he a faggot cookie?

    3. Obama?

    4. The state defines the job though. It can’t be said its their state job if the state says it not a job requirement.

  13. I’m sorry, the only thing that I see wrong with this law is that it relates to religious objections. I’m not religious, nor am a therapist. But, if I was an agnostic therapist, I would refuse to cater to someone’s mental illness by encouraging them to get a sex -change.
    I guess I should mail back my libertarian members card.

    1. The law refers to “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” – so your agnostic therapist would be protected.

      1. Which is exactly my problem. I should be free to be as bigoted as I want, no matter my religion. And, if I think trans people have mental health issues, and I do, I should have every right to operate my (theoretical) therapy business accordingly.

        1. Yes, and like I said, it refers to religious beliefs *or* moral convictions, so you’re covered. No need to bring the Sky Daddy into it.

          1. But if I’m morally ambivalent about it but disagree with the state of the literature and offer alternative therapies aimed at reducing rather than indulging transexual ideation, am I protected?

            1. I can’t answer for the state of Mississippi, but here’s what the statute says:

              “SECTION 2. The sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act are the belief or conviction that:
              (a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman;
              (b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and
              (c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”

              1. I guess you could couch it in terms of moral opposition to unnecessary surgical intervention on the premise that (c), and therefore you offer alternative therapies to assist in treating gender dysphoria. I just wonder whether such therapy is going to be treated like gay conversion (not to defend the latter).

              2. What if I have no religious beliefs and I just don’t like Christians. Can I hang a sign on my door that says “We don’t serve Christians”?

                1. As far as I’m concerned, that’s your First Amendment right.

                  Probably a Ninth Amendment/Privileges and Immunities Clause right.

                  But I’m not on the Supreme Court, am I?

                2. You should have that option.

          2. Oh, I misread your comment. Ok then, what’s Shackford’s problem? That the LGBTQWERTY crowd isn’t celebrated as some special group that gets special rights? What a libertarian position he takes.

            1. It protects the baker who *won’t* bake a gay cake, but it won’t protect the baker who *wants* to bake such a cake.

              It protects those who believe marriage is one man + 1 woman, but doesn’t protect those who believe marriage is 1 man + 1 man, 1 man + 4 women, or 7 men + 1 woman.

              So if (and I don’t know any real-world examples of this), the Mississippi government wants to punish a baker for making gay cakes, the statute would offer no protection.

              Which is, I think a hypothetical issue, but one which some tweaks in the language could fix.

              1. In short – the Supreme Court gay-marriage decision would protect the baker who makes a gay cake.

                The Mississippi bill would protect the baker who *refuses* to make a gay cake.

                So between the bill and the Supreme Court decision, I would think we have this matter covered.

            2. “LGBTQWERTY”

              You jest, but I actually saw a document at work today where it was spelled “LGBTQAI”.

              It just keeps getting longer and longer.

              1. I wish I could claim credit, but I stole that from another H&R poster, I’m sorry I don’t remember who.

              2. Is the AI for artificial intelligence? Are they planning on making AI’s fags?

            3. Shackford says he opposes public accommodation laws, but he always manages to find a reason to object to someone doing anything practical about them.

              1. “doing anything practical about them.”
                Mississippi doesn’t have any non-discrimination laws, anywhere in the state, that include sexual orientation or gender identity.

                So what’s “practical” about this?

      1. I read it, but didn’t have time to comment. Some of us actually have work to do.

        1. Some of us take our commenting job seriously.

          1. As soon as I start getting paid for it, I will too.
            Volunteer work isn’t real work.

            1. Fair enough. My day job involves almost no actual work, so in essence I’m paid to pollute the H&R comments.

    2. I don’t think your example … works. I mean, a therapist isn’t paid to tell the person whatever they want to here. You are providing a service of encouraging people to get a sex change for money, you are providing advice for money as a therapist, and there is no way that anyone could ever argue that you not advising someone in a certain way is discrimination.

      1. “…a therapist isn’t paid to tell the person whatever they want to HEAR. You are NOT providing a service of encouraging people to get a sex change for money, you are…”

        I shouldn’t write stuff before I have my tea…

  14. Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage

    Wait me a goshdarn prostitutin’ minute. They’s saying I gotta gets hitched?

    1. I’m sure that governer has taken a few wide stances in his lifetime.

    1. I’d be angry too without bacon.

  15. And I suppose you could certainly object to the law for not being comprehensive enough – for not protecting the right of a baker to bake a gay cake, of an employer to let male employees wear dresses and use the ladies’ room, etc.

    In practice I don’t know of any gay-friendly Mississippi business which is being threatened with legal sanctions for these reasons. But sure, I’d be happy to see those businesses protected, too.

    1. That’s one of the reasons I like you, Eddie. I disagree with your views, occasionally, and you disagree with mine, but you respect other people being able to live the way they want, without forcing your beliefs on them. Now, before anybody jumps in with the A-word, that’s a different thing. That is not you trying to force your religion on others, it is a valid position if you consider the unborn to be deserving of the same rights we all have.
      (please, nobody start a big argument about the A-word).

      1. That’s very flattering, I’ll try to deserve some of the nice things you said.

        Like I said above, the critics of the Mississippi bill are technically correct that it doesn’t protect the gay-cakery. But the gay-cakery is already protected by the Supreme Court decision.

        So the gay-marriage decision of the Supreme Court will protect the baker who makes a gay cake. The Mississippi statute protects the baker who *refuses* to make a gay cake.

        (And that’s even before we start talking about the First and Ninth Amendments, which ideally should be relevant here.)

        1. Sure. But Scott’s opposition to the bill doesn’t seem to be based on the fact that it doesn’t go far enough, unless I completely misread the article. He seems mostly concerned that sexual minorities are not protected from the same discrimination the rest of us live with all the time.
          Now, as a straight, white, middle class guy, I’m not pretending that I encounter even a small percentage of the discrimination that other people face, but I do face discrimination, daily. And you know what I do? Get on with my life, not petition the government to make me a protected class.

          1. Shackford has routinely stated that he opposes all discrimination laws. His objections to this particular law are pretty clear in the article.

            1. Shackford also manages to oppose all practical attempts to nullify such laws. Words are wind.

              1. This to the millionth power.

                1. In response to Mr. Rat.

              2. You are exactly correct, Mickey Rat.

              3. There are no non-discrimination laws anywhere in Mississippi that include sexual orientation or gender identity, so no laws were nullified.

                But sure, trump up this animus-driven message legislation as “practical”.

          2. From my reading of the article, the author’s objections are:

            -Not comprehensive enough, does not protect all religious objections to associations, only certain ones (Here’s a weird example based on the wording of the law. Someone who is against gay marriage AND polygamy can refuse service to a man seeking to take a second or third wife, but someone like me, where my religion is ONLY against polygamy, but not necessarily gay marriage, cannot refuse service to that same man. Why?? Because the law in question ONLY protects someone who believes marriage is between “one man and one woman”, not someone like myself who believes it is between “two people”)
            -The law provides excuses for Government agencies to enforce these beliefs on people seeking service. Like schools on the students. Since governments are monopolies, there is not an option for the customer to seek service elsewhere.
            -The law oddly elevates the rights of presumptive adoptive parents to enforce whatever their own views are on the children they seek to adopt over the rights and preferences of the child to be adopted.

            1. Seems like valid objections to me. I don’t want a public school in this infidel-majority country that I am forced to pay for imposing their religious values, whatever the values happen to be, on MY kids. Should I die, I would not want my kids in a situation where they could be adopted by infidels who seek to convert them against their own will. And I’d prefer the government not make excuses for Christians to refuse service for their religious reasons while ignoring my own right to refuse service for religious reasons.

        2. Not to disparage your interpretation, which is probably correct, but wouldn’t it be so much simpler to roll back the tides of public accommodation and just have one universal policy: discrimination makes you an asshole, probably, but not a criminal?

          Not easier, but definitely simpler than hewing out exceptions and overlapping sets of laws.

          1. Exactly. The government must treat all persons equally. Full stop. Individuals have the right to associate and do business with who(m?) they want, for whatever stupid reasons they want. People forget, it wasn’t merchants who didn’t want black peoples’ money who enforced Jim Crow, it was government regulations that forced businesses to enforce segregation.

            1. I don’t want to fully let the private sector off the hook re Jim Crow, but there were times when a business would think of integrating only to be scared off by govt threats.

              1. The same people who controlled government tended to be the same people who were the leaders in the community, including business owners. Yes, some merchants would have not discriminated, others would have. Treating people poorly is appalling. But people have the right to be dicks. The government, on the other hand, must treat everyone the same for justice to have meaning.

                1. Discrimination is often bad for business though. (Admittedly Southern society was so twistedly fucked up that it may have been good for business in some areas at the time) Existing business leaders supported the Jim Crow laws partially to protect themselves from upstart competitors who would try to gain an edge by not discriminating. People forget that Plessy vs. Ferguson was a case of a business wanting avoid having to discriminate.

                  1. Sure, there were some business that enjoyed a cronyistic advantage from segregation. And there were many employees, employers, gas station attendants, etc ad naseum.
                    But any greedy, orphan exploiting capitalist is going to sell to anyone with a dollar, be that someone black or white, gay or straight. I’ll do business with people that I don’t invite home.
                    But, it was the law that enforced that bigotry, that made it illegal for a white merchant to treat his black customer the same as the white customer.
                    Government is always the problem, never the solution.

                    1. “And there were many employees, employers, gas station attendants, etc ad naseum that supported this system”

            2. Right, it was entirely out of concern for the law requiring segregation that “Ax-Handle Saturday” happened.

              People forget, the law demanded segregation because the majority *wanted* it that way. And they were more then willing to get bloody enforcing it.

    2. Libertarians should also object to the enshrinement of government discrimination contained in the law, just like the North Carolina statute.

      1. Why object? Both bills provide for backup clerks and judges to fill in for those with conscientious scruples.

        Are same-sex couples not content with getting their government recognition? Do they want to purge the civil service, too, even if they would get their recognition anyway?

        1. The state cannot stop businesses and schools from deciding whether to accommodate transgender individuals in facilities like bathrooms or lockers or to establish sex-specific access guidelines based on the above beliefs.

          Unless this is restricted to private schools.

          1. Here is North Carolina’s House Bill 2.

            1. Yep, that’s why I said this bill is objectionable just like the NC one if the description quoted applies to government schools.

        2. Yes, they do. It’s not enough to leave them alone. It’s not enough to end government discrimination ( which I absolutely agree is not right). No, if you do not enthusiastically embrace their life style, them you must be punished and made an example of, so that no one else will ever date say that Bruce Jenner is a man, was born a man, and will die a man (albeit a man without his man-parts).
          They’re can be no disagreement with the party line.

          1. It’s not enough to end government discrimination

            Then you should object to the bill because it mandates discrimination in government schools.

            1. It does not mandate discrimination. It says the state shall not dictate the trends to local school boards. Our is federalism no longer a libertarian position?

              1. * terms, not trends

              2. What does Federalism have to do with the relationship between schools and STATE governments?

                And yes, this is slightly better than the NC bill which said that school districts HAVE to discriminate while this one says that they CAN discriminate. But it still stinks and they absolutely should not be allowed to discriminate. It also prevents local cities or even school districts (as I read the bill) from banning discrimination in schools within their jurisdiction. It completely leave petty government bureaucrats to discriminate at whim.

                1. What exactly is this discrimination you are objecting to, and why is it impermissible?

                  1. Read the bills, the NC explicitly states that schools should discriminate against transgendered students while the MS bill states that schools can discriminate at will.

                    1. By not building them bathrooms. So they currently can discriminate against blue eyed people by not building them bathrooms, and must discriminate against blue eyed people if they can’t make a law requiring bathrooms. What you’re saying is stupid and vapid. They are discriminating against someone all the time by this logic. And any law that says the state can’t force them to discriminate one way is discriminating against those that want to discriminate another way.

                    2. Thank you for picking up my slack. I’m getting drunk and have to work tomorrow. I have zero interest in explaining to pajama boy why I don’t really care how’s gay he is, and how past discrimination against certain persons does not warrant a free “gimme” pass for similar persons today.

                    3. And the pajama boy comment is laughable. You morons who get triggered by anything different and demand government from protection from transgenders are just the other side of the coin of the progressive dipshits begging for safe spaces.

                      Oh no, transgenders might be in my bathroom, better get the government to protect me!

                      You pathetic assholes.

                    4. Um they aren’t asking for new fucking bathrooms to be built, just to be allowed into the bathroom of their gender. There is no free gimme other than for the pantshitters who get triggered by transgenders.

                    5. Then why shouldn’t I be allowed into a woman’s bathroom or shower at any period of time I choose to identify as a woman? Transgender folks can be hetero. If you dress as a woman but feel attracted to a woman, you should have default rights to take showers with women?

                      If I own business (or managed a state ran facility), maybe I want bathrooms segregated by sex. Should I be sued out of existence because of that?

                      Unisex or single use bathrooms will obviously address this issue. But keep in mind that the LGBTQ crowd will want in on women’s beauty pagent, figure skating, etc. This and net neutrality is mostly the same. Someone wants to create “equal access” to something that you’re not entitled to.

                    6. Keeping any male out of the female restroom is also discrimination but why should it be impermissable? Or do you just refuse to recognize that women might like some privacy from men in those settings?

                      The basic issue here is that people who are reacting to public accommodation law do not think “gender” is the relevant distinction but that sex is.

              3. Since when do libertarians care about federalism?

                That’s a serious question.

                My understanding was that the goal was that “federalism” was favored only in-so-far as you could make progress on a state-by-state basis, but couldn’t at the federal level. When you could make progress at the federal level, then enforcing stuff on all states was just dandy.

                1. Exactly!! The only reason Libertarians tend to embrace Federalism is because in MANY cases, local governments tend to be smaller by necessity. That doesn’t mean that they support a local township deciding to go full-blown communist dicatorship, merely because ~federalism~.

              4. “Federalism means that local government entities should be able to impose a religion on people without Libertarians minding!!”

                Yeahsure.

  16. Don’t dream about the ghosts of Mississippi: https://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=pRsjl0Duim0

    Warning: soulful bluegrass.

    1. Ugh cultural appropriation white people have no soul

    2. also, link Sf’d

    3. Crusty. Your White Privillage has been rvocked

  17. You can’t take away peoples right to be assholes

    https://youtu.be/z_G7CV_TqLI

  18. Today PayPal announced it was going to abandon plans to expand and open a center in Charlotte because of the law North Carolina passed.

    And today, I cancelled my PayPal account. A lot of people who would have worked at that center didn’t agree with the law, didn’t vote for the law, but PayPal doesn’t give a shit about them. It’s more important that they show everyone else that they’re Doing The Right Thing.

    1. That Peter Thiel is a real libertarian.

      1. I do not believe he owns PayPal.

      2. Guess you are right. He is the former CEO. My bad.

        1. Well and private businesses choosing where to open shop is perfectly libertarian.

          In any case, in all likelihood they had already decided to do something else and this gave them a nice opportunity for PR grab on the way out.

          1. In this case it’s a private business insisting on laws restricting other private businesses.

            So if a Christian establishes a money-transfer company but refuses to service gay weddings, he’d want the government to have the power to shut it down.

            Or if the company has a dress code requiring dresses for women, and it wants to enforce that dress code against a woman who thinks she’s a man, he’d want the government to have the power to shut that business down.

            Purely disinterested.

            1. he = whoever runs PayPal

    2. PayPal doesn’t give a shit about them

      Why should they? PayPal should only give a shit about making money. And if they think looking elsewhere will accomplish that, well that is what they’ll do.

      1. It just seems highly unlikely that this decision will result in PayPal making money.

    3. This is the problem with allowing corporate consolidation… big corporations have the power to stymie the democratic process. We may think it’s cool when corporate boycotts cause governments to repeal coercive laws, but in this instance (and the similar case in Indiana with Apple boycotting them) corporations are trying to force governments to coerce people they don’t like.

    4. I thought libertarians were supposed to be cool with boycotts?

  19. The last one seems like the only one anyone would object to. Well, anyone libertarian.

  20. Well, yeah, that’s because it’s only Christians being targeted by lawsuits forcing them to cater gay weddings and such.

    1. Nice hair

  21. Question: If prostitution is ever legalized, will hookers be considered a public accommodation? IOW, can straight male hookers refuse to service gay men?

    1. *Must* you give them ideas?

    2. Forcing people to have sex is probably still considered rape, but if your daughter has never slept with a black guy, then she’s definitely racist and so are you or she wouldn’t have turned out that way.

    3. A wedding cake business that doesn’t make muffins can’t be forced to make them for gay weddings.

    4. Considering porn actresses are getting accused of racism for not wanting to do interracial scenes, the answer would seem to be “yes”.

    5. Nope. Their rectums must open to accommodate the homo plowing.

  22. CAN’T WE CALL JUST GET ALONG??!!!

    No? Not a little bit?

    People….I hate them.

    1. You’re in the right place.

    2. GET OFF MUH H&R!1!1

      *spits, scratches ass with butt of shotgun*

  23. Do I have this “protected class” distinction right? A Jewish baker can refuse to make a Hitler birthday cake for neo-Nazis. But a Neo-Nazi bakery can’t refuse to make a Happy Bar Mitzah cake for Jews.

    1. It’s basically a popularity contest.

      1. Yes, you are correct.

        And Libertarians should realize that govt power should be constrained so that defends liberty for everyone, even the unpopular.

    2. Can a pig refuse to eat Jews?

  24. “An RFRA is not a “do whatever you want” exemption for any religion.”

    Yeah, to find something crazy like that, you have to look to the First Amendment–and the First Amendment is sooooooooo passe.

  25. The laws passed by MS and NC are not perfectly libertarian by any means, but Reason’s nitpicky behavior with respect to them is despicable. These laws reduce government coercion of individuals who are not violating anybody’s rights. If it didn’t have to do with homosexual issues, there is no way Reason would nitpick like this.

    1. Different staff at Reason think different (sometimes conflicting) things. That’s the great thing about being libertarian: once we agree that everyone should be free to make choices themselves, we don’t really have to agree on much else.

      You’ll find that the staff here tend to agree more on some things and less on others. Whomever else Shackford speaks for, he also speaks for himself. If I remember correctly (hope I’ve got this right), isn’t he openly gay? He may not be as committed to the cause of homophobia as you’d like, but in the past, he’s come out pretty plainly for the First Amendment rights of Christians on these issues.

      How much more support for homophobia can you reasonably expect from someone who is openly gay?

      1. It’s homophobia huh? I’m assuming any business who doesn’t sell things to people without enough money hate poor people. Poorophobia IMO.

        This law says the state can’t punish people for x beliefs. Sad that such a law is necessary with the first amendment but it is. The opposition is that the state should be able to punish people for x beliefs. Whatever your definition of libertarian, punishing people with the state for their beliefs doesn’t fit. Maybe their freedomophobics.

        1. The only thing I said was homophobia is homophobia.

          If anything is homophobia , it’s homophobia.

          In related news, racism is racism.

          Just because people have a right to be stupid and the government should protect their right to be stupid–doesn’t mean stupidity isn’t stupid.

          This is exactly the kind of thinking I’m talking about. It’s not enough to stand up for people’s First Amendment rights to say and believe stupid things–we’re not real libertarians unless we think the stupid things people believe and say aren’t stupid? That’s bullcrap.

          I can stand up for people’s right to say and believe stupid things–even though they’re stupid–and be just as libertarian as anybody. And if that’s Shaklford’s position, then he’s just as libertarian as anybody needs to be, too.

          There isn’t anything in the libertarian handbook that says I have to pretend homophobia isn’t homophobia. If anything, believing that people have a right to their homophobia even though it’s stupid makes me more libertarian. It’s the ones who think our rights only exist and should only be protected if they’re smart that are the phonies.

          1. I really wish that stupid word, “homophobia,” would fall out of use. FWIW, dislike or distaste for something someone is or does doth not a phobia make…I have a real live phobia, so I know whereof I speak.

            I dislike homosexuals, and consider them to be evil, wicked, hateful, asocial people without whom we’d all be a lot better off*…but that does not constitute a phobia. Phobias are a long way below conscious thought, and a phobic can’t be jollied, scolded or reasoned out of it.

            *And I have reasons. Their ferocious fighting to keep their damn old bath houses open at the height of the AIDS epidemic, their utter unwillingness to leave other people be (I would bet in a lot of cases these alleged cake-buyers went from baker to baker till they found one who said “No,” so they could raise a rumpus and get attention; the fact that they may be ruining the guy’s business over something that IMO he has every right to do, and a right that has been upheld against others who aren’t so fashionable, was of no interest to these self-righteous crybullies) and the fact that I’ve never, not once, seen Big Gay mobilizing for anybody else’s rights, all contribute to my attitude.

            1. I wish people would start referring to taxation as “stealing”. However, the English language has a word for taxation already, and so I use the word that means that thing–so people know what I’m talking about.

              Incidentally, phobias aren’t necessarily anti-rational. People have reasons for being afraid of spiders and heights–both can be dangerous. The question is how those fears impact your life–make you do or believe irrational things.

              Looks like you’ve got reasons for your homophobia, too. If you don’t like people calling you what you are, then I guess it sucks to be you. If you’re afraid of homosexuals, then you’re a homophobe. If you’re proud of your homophobia, then you’ve got other issues, too.

              Surely, you don’t mean to suggest that it’s not enough for libertarians to defend your right to be a stupid homophobe–we have to like your stupid homophobia, too? Or maybe that’s exactly what you mean, in which case, screw you, you disgracefully stupid homophobe.

              What do you think libertarianism is–a safe space for homophobes?!

        2. “Sad that such a law is necessary with the first amendment but it is.”
          Actually, it isn’t.

          There is no jurisdiction in the state of Mississippi where sexual orientation or gender identity are protected classes. That is to say… even before this law goes into effect, a bakery can eject me for being gay.

          So as far as “necessary”… eh, sorry. This is 95% animus-driven message legislation. The other 5% is giving government employees an out on marriage-related duties as long as they object to same-sex marriage. If they object to interracial or interfaith marriages, they still have to do their job, but if they object to same-sex marriage they can opt out.

    2. It increases some people’s freedom, while not diminishing anybody’s freedom. So what’s the problem? Is equality more important than liberty?

    3. You are 102% correct, Dr. Mister.

    4. ~.~

      Frankly, I don’t care all to much when a government decides to reduce coercion against the majority group while leaving minority religions to fend for themselves. This only benefits conservative Christians.

      Muslims STILL have to make gay wedding cakes under this law. Because they believe marriage is NOT between “one man and one woman” but between “one man and up to four women, provided all women are treated equally by the man”. My religion is strictly monogamous, but doesn’t really care about gay marriage. We believe marriage is between “two people”

      They have essentially made a law that allows conservative Christians to not participate in gay marriages or polyamorous marriages. That’s good.

      BUT, they have worded their law in such a way that it ONLY allows conservative CHRISTIANS to have this degree of freedom of association. Muslims cannot, as this law is worded, opt out of baking gay marriage cakes. I cannot opt out on providing services for a polygamous wedding. This only provides protection to people who are BOTH against gay marriage AND polygamy.

      This makes it a case of favoring certain classes of people. Is it good that they are giving Christians some degree of freedom of association?? Sure. But it is bad that they are still DENYING that freedom to everyone else!!

      1. Point is, if this was another, bigger right, you might see the problem here.

        Imagine Saudi Arabia decides to become a “democracy”, and gives their citizens the right to vote. But ONLY the Muslim citizens. Christians, Jews, etc, they don’t get that right.

        In the case above, would you celebrate Saudi Arabia’s Muslim-Only voting rights as a win for the cause of freedom and liberty?? Would you accuse anyone who points out that “they are only letting Muslims vote” of “nitpicking” a law that otherwise expands freedom??

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  27. Can two brothers be married to one another?

    Can a mother marry her two daughters?

    If not, why not?

    1. Can a man be married to another man?

      Can a woman be married to another woman?

      If not, why not?

      1. If we were to declare a dog’s tail to be a leg, how many legs would a dog have?

        Four. Declaring a dog’s tail to be a leg does not make it a leg.

        — Abraham Lincoln (a paraphrase)

        1. Marriage is a cultural practice. As cultures change, so can cultural practices. A leg being a leg, however, is not a cultural practice. The point you made through the quote from Abraham Lincoln is a false equivalence.

          For clarity I personally would have the government simply enforce contracts and nothing more. People could freely enter any relationships they wanted and call it whatever they wanted.

    2. Alger Hiss: “If not, why not?”

      This one I can answer. Because there is not yet sufficient political support on the Left for it.

  28. The author makes the argument that this act — that protects certain religious beliefs — is therefore not a religious protection act because it doesn’t protect all religious beliefs.

    Actually, we already have a religious protection act that protects all religious beliefs, it is call the First Amendment. If the 1A were properly interpreted, we wouldn’t need this law.

    Unfortunately, the First Amendment is being eviscerated by the SSM lobby. Therefore — although we shouldn’t need it — we now need this law to protect people who are attempting to exercise their 1A rights.

    The author’s argument is complete horsesh!t because it totally ignores the fact that not all religious rights are being violated, only the rights of people who object to SSM.

    1. If non-discrimination laws (which dont’ cover sexual orientation or gender identity in the state of Mississippi) “eviscerate” the First Amendment, then wasn’t it “eviscerated” in 1964?

      When will people stop blaming gay people for the things they already did?

    2. “because it totally ignores the fact that not all religious rights are being violated, only the rights of people who object to SSM.”

      Your argument might be worth consideration if the above law PROTECTED “the rights of people who object to SSM”. It does not. Take a Muslim for example. They do not (typically) believe gay marriage is permissible. But this law DOES NOT ALLOW THEM TO OBJECT TO BAKING A GAY WEDDING CAKE. Muslims believe marriage is between “one man and up to four women”. Religions like my own, which are against polygamy but not necessarily homosexuality, are still forced to participate in polygamous ceremonies if a customer so demands.

      If you were ACTUALLY standing up for the rights of people who object to SSM, sure, maybe that’s fine. But the people who wrote this law and people who are supporting it clearly do not care about the religious freedoms of anyone who isn’t a Christian, and as a result, have worded their law in a way that only protects proponents of a conservative Christian definition of marriage.

      Defend ALL definitions of marriage from ALL demands by customers, or all your doing is giving Christians preferential treatment. You wouldn’t defend a law that gave voting rights to only Muslims, even though it IS giving a positive right to people, because it is favoring a certain group of people over others. Likewise, you shouldn’t give only Christians the right of free association and ignore everyone else. All or Nothing.

  29. This–

    Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.

    Is not a ‘belief’. It is a legal definition of an objective biological fact.

    The idea that any of this is ‘fluid’ in any way despite the objective criteria of genetics IS a ‘belief’.

    And to forestall the inevitable ‘what about the intersex/hermaphrodite/genetically disordered?’ question– Those who are NOT objectively determined by anatomy and genetics to be male(man) or female(woman) at time of birth are not mentioned in the statute and thus, the statute has no bearing on them.

    1. Actually, *no one* is “objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth” to be male or female. People just don’t do chromosomal tests at that point, ya know? What indicator on your birth certificate is based on anatomy alone.

      And in the case of most people outside the gender binary, at birth the doctor made a call, and often did surgery to make the anatomy match the decision. Leaving things be and marking something besides “male” or “female” on the birth certificate is a relatively new phenomena, and isn’t wide spread yet.

      That said, it is a “belief” because the science is increasingly on the side of transgender folk.

      1. Corrective surgery for genital malformation due to abnormalities in the sex chromosomes is not performed “often”

        Actual instances of intersexuality are exceedingly rare.

        Genetic disorders that involve the sex chromosomes exist. This is a simple objective fact and requires no ‘side’

        Belief enters the equation when some ‘believe’ that these issues are common and normal. They are not.

        There are two normal configurations of sex chromosomes. XX (female). and XY (male)–any other combination is a genetic disorder.

        This is a simple objective fact.

        The vast majority of people that refer to themselves as ‘transgender’ or who have been diagnosed with ‘gender dysphoria’ have none of these genetic disorders.

        This is a simple objective fact.

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  31. Conflicted feelings on this. It expands freedom of association, but only for Christians. A Muslim who believes “marriage is between one man and up to four women” or a Jew who believes “marriage is between one man and as many women as they can marry” are not, under this law, allowed to refuse to bake gay wedding cakes.

    Only people who hold a conservative Christian definition of marriage are permitted this right of free association. And that makes it seem more bad than good to me. Giving liberty is GOOD. But giving liberty to only one select group of people is NOT. It essentially endorses the select group and gives them freedoms that everyone else should have, while denying those freedoms to other groups.

    Look, if a Middle Eastern dictatorship were to, tomorrow, declare that it was no longer going to be a dictatorship. It would give its people voting rights, but only if they were Muslim, I somehow doubt all you people who are defending this law would call that development libertarian. When you give only one group of people a certain right, that’s not libertarian nor democracy. I’m sure the leaders of China have plenty of personal liberty, but that favored group having liberty hardly makes China libertarian.

    1. Back when the whole SSM thing was getting started there was an argument that went along the lines of ‘it’s not illegal for homosexuals to marry, it’s just illegal for a man to marry a man and a woman to marry a woman–homosexuals can get married, they just have to do it the same way everyone else does’. Well this was met, and rightly so, with, ‘but they don’t WANT to marry people of the opposite sex’–so, though everyone had the same right, it didn’t work because while they had the right, there was no desire.

      This case is similar.

      People aren’t attacking Muslims for the fact that they will not bake wedding cakes for gay couples (hell–they’re not attacked for doing their best to keep from interacting with homosexuals at all). So the First Amendment can be said to still be working for them (even though we all know that it’s fear that keeps anyone from pressing the Islamic homophobia issue). Likewise for your weird Jewish example (though I suspect that FINDING polygamous Jewish sects with wedding cake bakeries is needle in a haystack territory).

      So there’s no need to include them–the law that’s supposed to handle this is still in full effect–for them. For some reason, everyone thinks its just fine to beat the hell out of Christians right now, so laws that re-include them in the First Amendment are bound to get passed.

      And if a middle eastern dictatorship went actual–albeit muslim only democracy, we’d see it as a step forward and an advance towards liberty, absolutely.

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  33. Shouldn’t need a law to discriminate to begin with. I don’t care for the LGBT and I have no desire to associate with them on any level. I’ll discriminate against them law or no law

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