April 05, 2016
Thanks to Governor Phil Bryant (R), facts -- not fear -- won out in Mississippi! Earlier today, Bryant signed the "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act" into law over the threats from corporate America and LGBT activists. After the Left's tantrum over North Carolina, where leaders denied men access to girls' restrooms and showers, most people started to see the liberal agenda for the extremism it is. Now, with the enactment of H.B. 1523, Mississippi is responding by passing religious liberty legislation that should be a model for every state.
Despite Big Business bullies, a media misinformation campaign, and liberal scaremongers, Governor Bryant helped to fan the flames of a national pushback to the Left's intolerance on the issue of marriage. Under this law, churches aren't the only ones protected from government punishment for their beliefs -- so are businesses, wedding vendors, and even public officials. While the threats from corporate America continue to roll in to North Carolina and Mississippi, the reality is that after Houston voters killed the city's hugely unpopular bathroom bill in November, the momentum has been on the side of common sense.
Thanks to his tremendous courage, Governor Bryant -- like Governor Pat McCrory (R-N.C.) -- has cemented his legacy as one of freedom. In the face of some of the stiffest pressure of his career, he stood strong for the rights of his state to live and work according to their faith. And while Mississippi -- like North Carolina -- will have to weather a temporary storm, in the end, both governors will be rewarded with their voters' support and a legacy of courage. Years from now, no one will remember if a sporting event was held in a particular city -- but those communities would be reminded daily in a thousand ways if their freedom to believe was lost because of the political cowardice of political leaders.
Meanwhile, PayPal may be the Left's friend, but it's no pal of North Carolina's! The money transfer service announced this morning that it's canceling the company's Charlotte expansion because the state won't force young girls to share bathrooms and showers with grown men. Company CEO Dan Schulman is so outraged that North Carolina listened to its people and not out-of-state radicals that he's moving his new branch to a different location. Good riddance! Anyone with half a brain shouldn't want that kind of extremism operating out of North Carolina anyway. There was a time, not too long ago, when most corporations would have probably moved out of a state if it did allow such lunacy.
Now that Big Business has been co-opted by LGBT activists, it's not just demanding -- but punishing -- anyone who thinks the safety and privacy of our daughters is too much to pay for political correctness. PayPal CEO Dan Schulman lashed out at the legislature, Governor Pat McCrory (R), and the 70 percent of the state that supported the move, arguing that H.B. 2 "perpetrates discrimination, and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal's mission and culture." So PayPal values government intrusion and interference? Because that's what North Carolina is trying to prevent.
Under the bill McCrory signed, local officials can't dictate how companies operate. That doesn't mean businesses can't pass their own bathroom policies -- it means the government can't tell them what those are! Yet all we hear out of the liberal media is how H.B. 2 is hurting businesses -- when in fact, it's actually defending their right to function independently. It's pretty impressive when you think about it. The LGBT lobby has actually pressured Big Business into lobbying for less freedom for itself. Would Schulman and others rather the government be an overbearing partner in their day-to-day operations, deciding what the company can and can't do? Of course not. That isn't a free market. And neither is what the bullies on the Left are advocating.
What can you do about it? Plenty. There's one group these business listen to more than intolerance liberals: consumers. If you have a PayPal account, let the company know where you stand on their decision to side with extremists over public safety and privacy. Rep. Dan Bishop, a Charlotte Republican who was part of the bipartisan majority to pass the North Carolina law, told reporters, "When I cautioned Mayor Roberts in January not to drive our community into this turmoil, this is the kind of thing I recognized would be a possibility," Bishop said. "It's not about H.B. 2 because PayPal does business in Saudi Arabia and China. It is instead about a frenzy that the mayor and her allies on city council have whipped up... I think she might consider that she stop calling in airstrikes on her own position."
Fortunately, there's never a wrong time to do right. And that's exactly what Texas, North Carolina, and Mississippi have done in protecting America's most basic freedoms.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.