JACKSON, MISS. — In a letter released Monday, 95 Mississippi authors are urging state officials to repeal House Bill 1523—so-called “religious freedom” legislation that allows workers to discriminate against and deny services to LGBT residents.
According to the Associated Press, the authors include Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners, a former U.S. poet laureate, and bestselling authors such as John Grisham and Kathryn Stockett (author of “The Help”). The writers point out that the bill promotes bias and capitalizes on dangerously antiquated sentiments in the state, which have “nourished intolerance and degradation and brutality” and have “looked at difference as a threat.”
They also call on Mississippi to nurture and perpetuate the more progressive, accepting side of its people’s collective values.
“[T]he embracing of wildness and weirdness […] is what has nurtured the great literature that has come from our state," the lauded authors wrote in the letter. "Mississippi authors have written through pain, and they have written out of disappointment, but they have also written from wonder, and pride, and a fierce desire to see the politics of this state live up to its citizens. It is deeply disturbing to so many of us to see the rhetoric of hate, thinly veiled, once more poison our political discourse."
Mississippi’s Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law on April 5. The bad legislation continues to attract ire from LGBT equality advocates and major corporations across the nation, who demand its repeal based on the easily foreseeable harm its tenets will cause.