Despite the freedom of religion afforded Americans by the Constitution, some states across the country have been passing bills that, under the guise of religious liberty, attempt to legalize discrimination against the LGBT community. Mississippi introduced one of the most heinous examples of these bills, allowing establishments to fire employees, landlords to refuse housing, and medical professionals to refuse certain treatments to the LGBT over “sincerely held religious beliefs,” among other egregious actions. While celebrities, businesses, and government officials have been speaking out against the bill, one organization fighting back on their home turf is the Oxford Film Festival.
Based out of Oxford, Mississippi, the festival announced development on a new section for LGBT films. Executive director Melanie Addington released a statement (via BirthMoviesDeath) earlier this week that reads:
Ellen DeGeneres, Andy Cohen, and Josh Gad are some of the celebs continuing to denounce Gov. Bryant for the decision as opposition for these bills has been growing. Lionsgate recently moved production on a new Hulu series, Crushed, from North Carolina to Canada after the state introduced a similar bill, while Paypal canceled its expansion plans. Elsewhere, pressure from Hollywood no doubt helped halt Georgia’s religious freedom bill of the same nature when Disney and Marvel, among others, threatened to relocate should it be passed.
Despite pushback, states continue to pass similar bills, and some are specifically targeting trans individuals with these so-called “bathroom bills.” It seems like we’re just getting started, and hopefully more establishments like the Oxford Film Festival will speak out against these actions.