For Seattle, this gets personal: LGBTQ rights in NC and MS

The United States has a long history of discrimination against the LGBTQ community. The fact that marriage equality did not become legal throughout the nation until 2015 clearly attests to this fact. While this was undoubtedly a monumental step in American history, the LGBTQ community still faces discrimination locally and, as of recent months, on a more national scale. The governors of both North Carolina and Mississippi have recently come under fire for signing into law bills that actively permit discrimination against the LGBTQ community in their respective states.  

 

Most recently, Mississippi governor, Phil Bryant, has been criticized for signing the Religious Liberty Accommodations Act, which gives private business owners, churches, and religious charities the right to refuse service to anyone if they feel doing so would go against their religious beliefs. The passage of this law once again brings up the long-running and frustrating argument concerning the separation of church and state.  

 

Regardless of one’s beliefs on this topic, this law, along with the similar one denying rights to the transgender community in North Carolina, violates American civil rights. These laws are poorly masked ways in politicians are allowing discrimination, something from which all American citizens should be protected, to exist in their states. 

 

Governor Phil Bryant 

 

 

Neither of these laws have been passed without backlash, however. Many city and state officials, including Seattle mayor Ed Murray, have banned non-essential state-sponsored travel to these states.  

 

According to Mayor Murray“Seattle will continue to speak out against injustice and stand with those who are fighting for equality. “ He reminds us that these dangerous laws are limiting civil rights and only serve to divide our nation even furtherMayor Murray and other political leaders throughout the nation have banned travel to North Carolina and/or Mississippi until these blatantly discriminatory laws have been either changed or eliminated altogether. 

 

 

Protestors at the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson, MS 

 

 

While it is important we make our voices and frustrations heard, we must also remember not to condemn these states as a whole. Since they were passed, people throughout the country, including in Mississippi and North Carolina, have strongly opposed these laws and the discrimination that they allow. It is incredibly important to remember that our fight for LGBTQ justice starts with hope and willingness to change behaviors. Taking a stand with LGBTQ comminuties will help them fight the daily discrimination as a direct result of these laws. We must continue to ally ourselves with the people who have been most directly affected and continue to fight for change until this discrimination is no longer a concern.