CNN host Don Lemon said in reaction to a religious liberty bill being proposed in Mississippi that religious liberty is “just a code for discrimination.”
According to anchor Alisyn Camerota, the religious liberty bill – house bill 1523, the Religious Liberty Accommodations Act – “targets gays and lesbians.” And Don Lemon reiterated that, stating, “[The bill] says marriage is between a man and woman — that’s what it says — sexual relations are reserved to marriage; and gender is determined at birth.”
But guest and Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council Peter Sprigg pointed out to Lemon what the bill actually says:
“The intro that Alisyn gave before the break was somewhat misleading in saying this bill targets gays and lesbians. It doesn’t do that at all. What it does is it prevents the government from targeting people who hold those traditional beliefs for some sort of punishment or retaliation through government action…
“If you read the bill, it’s not saying that those things [religious beliefs] are true. It’s saying that those are the beliefs that have to be protected against government discrimination; because those are the beliefs that are being targeted for government discrimination now, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.”
Here’s the relevant portion of Mississippi’s religious liberty bill:
The sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act are the belief or conviction that:
(a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman;
(b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and
(c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.
As one can plainly see, the religious liberty bill doesn’t “target gays and lesbians.” It simply protects people and institutions from the state government taking “any discriminatory action” based on people’s religious beliefs or opinions.