Mississippi and North Carolina are now both officially your racist grandparents. Their favorite activities include bingo and sitting on the front porch of the nursing home with a mint julep in hand, reminiscing about the “good ole days.” You know, the times when men were men, bathrooms were segregated, and spontaneous lynchings were better known as “date night.” Those days are no more, but that doesn’t mean that Mississippi and North Carolina can’t pretend they’re still in the 18th century – at least for a little while longer.
Today, Mississippi governor Phil Bryant signed a so-called “religious freedom” bill into law. Mississippi now joins North Carolina as the only two states to have this kind of bill on the books. From MSN:
“The measure’s stated intention is to protect those who believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman, that sexual relations should only take place inside such marriages, and that male and female genders are unchangeable. ‘This bill merely reinforces the rights which currently exist to the exercise of religious freedom as stated in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,’ the Republican governor wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter account. The measure allows churches, religious charities and privately held businesses to decline services to people whose lifestyles violate their religious beliefs.”
Even though Gov. Bryant promises the bill won’t lead to anti-gay discrimination, most critics say otherwise. I mean, you know you done fucked up when even Georgia’s Republican governor thought that shit was un-Christian and vetoed it on the spot.
As a Southerner, I know that the right to discriminate and act like a self-righteous bigot is a time-honored tradition in my neck of the woods. But why? We have lots of cool shit in the south – great weather, great food, great architecture – can’t we just let this one go? Why do we have to get misty-eyed every time a government building stops flying the rebel flag? I know, I know – “heritage, not hate,” right? Yes, the antebellum south was so cool for everyone involved. I can’t imagine why anyone would object to glorifying a time when slavery was legal and women were chattel…
Yes, it’s coming to me now. But hey, let’s just keep that discrimination train rolling. It’s taboo now to discriminate against African Americans and women, but what other marginalized group can we oppress? Gay people, that’s it! Let’s discriminate against gay people. But in Mississippi and North Carolina, just having that hate in your heart isn’t enough. You’ve got to spend taxpayer money to codify that shit! And that, America, is how a bill becomes a law in the South.