Full Disclosure: The author of this article is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Mass Communication and Journalism.
A “Man Crush Monday” post dedicated to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant was taken down after a Fifth Circuit Court paved the way for implementation of his anti-LGBT law. A “Man Crush Monday” post dedicated to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant was taken down after a Fifth Circuit Court paved the way for implementation of his anti-LGBT law.
“#MCM is USM alumni Phil Bryant,” the University of Southern Mississippi School of Mass Communication and Journalism posted Monday morning.
Within hours of the post, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that plaintiffs in the case against Mississippi House Bill 1523 did not have standing, paving the way for the law to take effect on Tuesday, October 10th. The religious objections law would allow for businesses to discriminate against gay and transgender people on the basis of certain religious beliefs about marriage and gender.
Rev. Brandiilyne Magnum-Dear, the pastor at Joshua Generation Metropolitan Community Church – which is pro-LGBT, said university students and faculty began contacting her about the #MCM post. Soon after she commented on the post with a copy of the text of HB 1523, the post was deleted, she said.
Magnum-Dear addressed the school in a letter to the editor of the Student Printz, USM’s student-run newspaper.
“The fear of legal discrimination is now our reality,” she wrote. “Because of Phil Bryant, this bill will go into effect . . . We can be refused services that most people take for granted. We are desperately searching for our allies and safe spaces and believed USM to be one of those spaces. However, on the very day that the news of HB 1523’s impending implementation was announced we saw a Facebook post celebrating Gov. Phil Bryant, the MAIN supporter of this horrifying bill, as the Southern Miss School of Mass Communication and Journalism’s ‘#MCM’.”
“What message is the University trying to send? This post, on this day, makes me and those who saw it question the safety and support we believed we had from our university, the place where we study and where many of us live.”
Bryant, Magnum-Dear said, is not only “homophobic and transphobic,” but also “racist.” She pointed to his continued declarations of “Confederate Heritage Month,” which takes place in April.
“When a governor not only authors and signs a law that ensures that certain groups of people can be denied services and be publicly humiliated for using the ‘wrong water fountain,’ but also fights tooth and nail for its enactment, he should not be celebrated,” Magnum-Dear wrote.
She and her wife, Susan Magnum, are two of the plaintiffs in the challenge to HB 1523. A federal judge ruled the law unconstitutional, but on appeal by the state, the Fifth Circuit ruled that plaintiffs do not have standing to challenge the law because they have yet to be discriminated against on the basis of the law due to the fact that it has not yet taken effect.
The plaintiffs have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the Fifth Circuit’s decision and stop the law from taking effect.