Joint Statement Opposing the Passage of SB2681

Joint Statement from the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies and the Winter Institute Opposing the Passage of SB2681
4/3/14

Members of the University of Mississippi community are deeply concerned about the consequences of SB2681, a bill that reaffirms the ability to legally discriminate against the LGBTQ community and also gives license for all sorts of physical, spiritual, and psychic violence against LGBTQ residents of Mississippi. Such a bill compromises the civil rights of all of the state’s residents because this bill sets a precedent for legal discrimination. This bill is particularly problematic because it incorrectly uses religious freedom to discriminate against others. As we know from past history, this type of legal strategy has caused the political, social, and economic subjugation of others. This bill also imperils economic development in the state. Wishing to avoid discrimination, LGBTQ individuals may choose to leave the state or reject employment opportunities. Likewise, companies that value employees’ happiness and diversity may choose not to locate here. Most importantly, SB2681 marginalizes essential members of our community.  The LGBTQ community includes our aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. They are valued, crucial members of the Mississippi community, and this legislation could threaten their equal status as neighbors and citizens.

At this difficult time, we wish to reaffirm the University of Mississippi’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and support of our LGBTQ members of the campus community.  We wish to publicly recognize that they make essential contributions to the functioning of our university as educators, staff, and students. Together, LGBTQ people and allies advance our goals of academic excellence, creating successful and enriching learning environments where all campus members thrive.  Most importantly, they are our colleagues, mentors, and friends and we are grateful for their presence in our campus community.

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