Many foolish people believe that HB 1523 protects their religious beliefs. It does not. It protects three beliefs, and three beliefs only. What are they? Let's find out!
One: Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.
Two: Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.
Three: Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.
Or, to rewrite this in my own words:
1: No homo.
2: No ring, no fling.
I was going to try to come up with a clever way to phrase the third one, but it's so byzantine and weird that I couldn't, and I'm a guy who once pretended that a massive flood simulation structure was a pre-alpha release of Fallout 5. It sounds like something an alien would say if they got stuck on Earth, except they'd probably have a better grasp of Earth-man biology.
So, we're stuck with belief #3 being "Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth." I feel like they had the word "Human" in there a few times but got it edited out by one of those alien-human hybrids from The X-Files.
This is billed as an act to protect religious freedoms. I'll go and check my supply of holy books for anything covering "Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth," but I think it might be an even weirder offshoot of Scientology.
So, some of the slimy defenders of this bill constantly make the grandiose boast that it's all about weddings and marriages, and how dare you force their pastor to marry two men together!
I'm not sure that's a big problem. If you're asking a preacher to do your wedding and he doesn't want to, he can say no. Now, that doesn't apply to, say, a public business like a wedding venue, because it's a business open to the public, so...
So can I just go ahead and assume that all the talking point monsters clogging the newspapers and comment sections haven't read the damn bill? I will, because of course they haven't read the goddamn bill. I don't blame them, it's poorly written drivel, no plot, no characters, it goes over the "this is what a wedding is and we don't like doing them" thing in three separate places, but then, it gets to the really insidious shit.
Say what you will about conservatives, they're right about one thing - you shouldn't just 'make a law' unless there's a very pressing need. This bill is a problem in search of a application. Let's find out what it can let you do to anyone who breaks the Three Commandments, Mississippi Edition.
Let's find out what the problems we can create are!
If someone's breaking one of the Three Commandments, you can discriminate in hiring or firing! Yes, it's time to fire away the gay! Deny housing to that teenager kicked out of her house by her parents! Go for it!
Prevent a recently allowed adoption by a gay couple? Okay! HB1523 to the rescue!
Say you're a social psychology professional and, because it's debunked, hurtful pseudoscience, you want to defund an anti-gay counseling service? Sorry, that's prohibited! Pray away the gay is now okay!
Have you discriminated against a couple involved in fertility services? You're safe!
Bigotry in school dress codes? Protected! Want to prevent someone from using public restrooms, spas, locker rooms, or gyms that make them feel comfortable? You're golden!
State employees can badmouth their coworkers! Clerks (not just weddings, but all state functions) who won't deal with THE BIG THREE are protected!
State tax codes can no longer take away tax-exempt status from entities engaging in this chicanery, nor can they be prevented from getting grants, loans, guarantees, or state contracts!
Why, it even prevents other state organizations from firing these assholes, so if your coworker is fucking someone and they're not married to each other, screw HR laws and stuff, just fire the hells out of 'em!
Yes, these are the only three religious freedoms protected by this law. It's almost as if it wasn't about religion at all.