The governor of Mississippi signed a religious liberty bill into law on Tuesday that has provoked discontent among some major tech companies who are angry about the potential impact of the bill on the gay community.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) have all taken to social media to tweet against the government’s law. Technology firms have teamed up with human rights and gay rights groups to protest against the law.
The new Mississippi law states that it upholds moral convictions and religious beliefs, including the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. The law also stipulates that a person’s gender is determined by genetics and anatomy at birth. The law gives businesses the ability to decide who can access amenities such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms.
Governor Phil Bryant (R) stated that he signed the bill because it allows people to express their religious freedom. He also stated that the bill does not violate any constitutionally protected actions or rights of anyone under state or federal law. The legislation was designed in line with the federal government and therefore it did not go against any views of the federal government.
Numerous groups had called for the governor to reject the bill citing that it warrants discrimination against the gay community in the state. Lawmakers who supported the governor’s decision also stated the legislation aims to protect the rights of people with certain religious views.
Mississippi’s American Civil Liberties Union director Jennifer Riley-Collins stated that the law marked the dawn of a new era for thousands of people in the state because they risk being denied essential services such as housing, healthcare, marriage licenses and even being turned away by businesses. She believes that the legislation overlooks important American principles such as justice, equality, and fairness.