JACKSON — At least nine U.S. cities and five states have banned non-essential travel by government employees to North Carolina, Mississippi, or both, claiming religious liberty bills adopted there discriminate against homosexual and transgendered persons.
A Mississippi pastor told Baptist Press he’s proud of his state legislature’s courage and confused by the seeming hypocrisy of some critics. Pastors in Vermont and Washington — two states to enact bans — said such actions are a predictable outworking of the secular worldview that dominates their local cultures.
Joining Washington and Vermont in instituting travel bans were the states of New York, Minnesota, and Connecticut. Cities to institute bans included Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco, Calif.; Santa Fe, N.M.; and Washington, according to USA Today.
Chas Rowland, pastor of Bovina Baptist Church in Vicksburg, Miss., noted he was “proud of our state officials for making a stand for what is right in the face of the threats.
“I think our major problem has been for far too long in America in general that we are so dominated by money,” said Rowland, a member of Mississippi Baptists’ Christian Action Commission.
“It’s about time we started making decisions based on what’s right and wrong objectively as opposed to what profits our bank accounts,” he added.
North Carolina’s law requires individuals in state government buildings to use restrooms designated for the gender indicated on their birth certificates and institutes a statewide nondiscrimination law that does not include complete protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Mississippi’s law forbids discrimination against individuals and businesses that hold traditional views of marriage and gender. The measure includes a ban on forced participation in same-sex weddings.