Prominent LGBT organization GetEQUAL has issued a travel alert for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Mississippi.
Mississippi legislators are currently attempting to pass Senate Bill 2681, titled the "Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act," a bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community based on "religious freedom." The bill is similar to controversial legislation in Arizona recently vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer.
GetEQUAL Mississippi alerts those traveling to the state of a continued risk of discrimination based upon sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The State of Mississippi does not currently protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (“LGBT”) people from being legally ejected from their hotel rooms or other places of public accommodation, and is on the cusp of passing legislation that would give business owners even more latitude to legally discriminate against minority groups.
Those who are required to travel to Mississippi are encouraged to take the following precautions:
- Avoid traveling alone in the state.
- Only book travel at hotels which have policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Visit only known LGBT-friendly establishments, including restaurants, bars and venues.
- Be aware of your surroundings and adopt other appropriate safety measures to protect yourself while traveling.
GetEQUAL Mississippi will continue to monitor this situation and update travelers as needed.
GetEQUAL regularly issues travel alerts for members of the LGBT community based on the current political and social climate of a given area. Previous alerts included San Antonio last summer when the city council seemed poised to strike down a proposed ordinance that would offer nondiscrimination protection for individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity within already existing legislation.