On April 5, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed HB 1523 into law over the objections of LGBTQ advocates, business groups, and religious organizations. The law prevents the state from taking action against state employees, private businesses, or religious organizations who choose to deny services to people on the basis of very specific beliefs or moral convictions. Those beliefs are:

  • That marriage is or should be recognized as a the union of one man and one woman,
  • That sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage, and
  • That male and female (or man and woman) refer to an individualโ€™s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at birth.

As a religious organization on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we recognize that our fellow Mississippians have a wide range of religious beliefs and moral convictions. We believe that those religious beliefs deserve appropriate protections.

However, as a health and human services organization of the United Church of Christ, we also love our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters, and we believe that this legislation provides a license to discriminate against them. It also provides a license to discriminate against unmarried couples, single mothers, and others under the guise of religious beliefs about sexuality. We cannot and will not accept the marginalization of our brothers and sisters, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or family status.

We join Biloxi Mayor Andrew โ€œFoFoโ€ Gillich and the many other Mississippians who oppose this legislation in saying that we do not discriminate, period.

Back Bay Mission will always serve the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or family status. We will continue to advocate for housing and employment opportunities for all people. And we will do that because our religious convictions demand it.

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  • Karen Buehler says:

    Thank you for publicly taking a stand. Because no matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here! God bless the UCC!

  • Ivan Horn says:

    Thank you for your firm stand for the equality of ALL God’s people and for being on the right side of history. As we so well know each generation needs to be taught. In this case this generation with even many political leaders, all need to be taught to allow all of us to love whoever we want to love and for everyone to hate and yes vote against war, violence, discrimination, and anything that promotes less for others than we want for ourselves. May we always give thanks for our UCC and its forward movement toward bring the realm of God, the rule of God’s love in the hearts and lives of every human being on the face of this earth.

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