LGBT Group Launches Travel Alert for Mississippi
By Neal Broverman
As Mississippi weighs a bill similar to Arizona's failed legislation that would have denied services to LGBT people, an advocacy group is telling gay and trans travelers the state is too dangerous to visit.
Senate Bill 261, called the "Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act," is swiftly moving through the state's legislature. The legislation would make it easier for Mississippi business owners to deny services to LGBT people or others they feel conflict with their religious beliefs.
In response, GetEQUAL Mississippi released the following alert:
"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."