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New UK Foreign Office Advice to LGBT Community.

Posted on : 22-04-2016 9:28

UK Foreign Office Issues Advice to LGBT People Travelling to US.

It seems that two states in the US have introduced new anti-gay laws, forcing the British Foreign Office to issue new guidelines for gay,lesbian, bisexual and transgender people travelling to those states.

The new Foreign Office advice states: “The US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country. Laws vary from state to state. When you are physically present in a state, even temporarily, you are subject to that state’s laws. You must carry a passport showing that you have leave to enter or remain with you at all times”.

The US states in question are North Carolina and Mississippi and they have both passed similar legislation which basically allows businesses to refuse services/products to LGBT people on religious grounds. The North Carolina bill (HB 2) was signed about two weeks before the Mississippi bill (HB 1523).

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill to make it law then tweeted the following –

I signed House Bill 1523 to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions of individuals, organizations and private associations from discriminatory action by state government or its political subdivisions“.

North Carolina Bathroom Law

In North Carolina they also have something called the “Bathroom Law” which basically says that anybody using public toilets should use those which are designated to the biological sex they were born with, as apposed to using the public toilet for the gender they identify with.

House Bill 1523

The new HB 1523 law also protects the rights of those people who do not/refuse to recognise the gender identity of transgender people.

The recently passed bill says that a business can deny services based on one of three religious beliefs – that marriage is between a man and a woman, that sex should only be between a married man and woman, and that gender is defined biologically at birth.

Apparently there are a few local councils asking for the law to be repealed stating that the new law has no place in a modern society and adversely effects the local economy.

The Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union had the following to say regarding HB 1523 – “A sad day for the state of Mississippi and for the thousands of Mississippians who can now be turned away from businesses, refused marriage licenses, or denied housing, essential services and needed care based on who they are.

Consequences of Both Bills

It seems that there are already economic and cultural consequences to both bills. Payal had intended on an expansion project in North Carolina but recently withdrew their plans. The Paypal expansion would have apparently generated around 400 new jobs.

It also seems that several comedians have cancelled their tour dates in Mississippi such as Tracy Morgan in direct response to the bill. The number of rock bands cancelling their dates is also on the rise which already includes Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr who have all cancelled their dates in North Carolina. Bryan Adams has also cancelled dates in Mississippi.