Governor Phil Bryant

ID: LSG-2016-MS-0001

Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 139
Jackson, MS 39205
Sent via: Mail
April 4th, 2016
Re: The Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act
Governor Phil Bryant,
I am sending you this letter that is in regards to House Bill 1523 which is also known as the Protecting
Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act. I urge you to read this letter and to veto
the proposed bill. In this letter to you I am going to explain “some” reasons as to why I believe that the
Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act is unnecessary and why I
believe that it is unconstitutional.
I.

General information as to the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Act
Mississippi State House Bill 1532 is also known as the Protecting Freedom of Conscience
from Government Act. That state bill that was sponsored and promoted by Mississippi State
Senator Jenifer Branning. Senator Branning is with the Republican Party and she is a
member of the Mississippi State Senate. She represents District 18.
Mississippi State Senator Jenifer Branning’s bill to my knowledge is an attempt to
“unlawfully” grant individuals, business and government employees, nonprofits and other
entities to have a legal right under state law to refuse goods and services to individuals who
identify as LGBT and anyone who has had extramarital sex on religious grounds.
The Mississippi State House and the Mississippi State Senate approved and passed the bill.
The House approved the final version of the bill and currently the bill is headed to your
office to be signed into law or to be vetoed by you.

II.

The Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act is
unnecessary
The Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act is unnecessary
and does not have a legitimate purpose. While the freedom believe is absolute, the freedom
to discriminate is not. That is especially true when it involves government employees or
individuals who are contracted to perform a governmental function.

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“A lot” of pieces of legislation that has been passed in the United States of America have
been passed for a specific legitimate reason. That reason may be due to a lack of
clarification on an issue, to protecting the rights of a class of people or another legitimate
legal “needed” reason. There is absolutely no “legal” legitimate reason as to why the
Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act is needed.
To my knowledge there are no statistics, graphs or any other type of data that proves the
individuals who are needing to be protected by the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from
Government Discrimination Act and how the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from
Government Discrimination Act would be effective.
III.

Government employees do not have a right to discriminate and they must abide by the
Constitution of the United States of America
It is to my knowledge and understanding that Mississippi House Bill 1523 grants government
employees the right to discriminate while they are working in their official capacities.
Government employees who are working in their official capacities have to serve all people
and they are barred from denying service to a customer due to the customer being LGBT or
due to the customer being in a same-sex relationship. That is thanks to the Supremacy
Clause, the Federal Free Exercise Clause, the Equal Protection and the Due Process Clause
and the Establishment Clause of the Constitution of the United States of America; and for
other reasons not mentioned.
Supremacy Clause
The United States Supremacy Clause assures that “any state law, however clearly within a
State’s acknowledged power, which interferes with or is contrary to federal law, must yield.”
See Felder v. Casey, 487 U.S. 131, 138 (1988). For instance in the 1950s after the United
States Supreme Court made racial segregation in public educational institutions illegal in
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), some of the states tried to
pass state laws that voided that federal decision. Their nullification attempts did not work
and was unconstitutional.
Further the United States Supreme Court was designed to judge to determine if passed laws
are constitutional. The Supreme Court of the United States has stated in Obergefell v.
Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015) that same-sex couples have a 14th amendment right, under
the Equal Protection and the Due Process Clauses, to get married "on the same terms and
conditions as opposite-sex couples." 135 S. Ct. at 2605 (emphasis added). A government
employee of Mississippi State cannot deny same-sex couples a marriage license due to their
religious beliefs because that type of conduct would violate the requirements listed in the
Obergefell v. Hodges decision.
I also believe that denying a person service due to them simply being an individual is
attracted to members of their sex is called sex discrimination and is illegal. Even if the
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Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Act somehow becomes a law in your
state, that state law would be unconstitutional and would therefore be invalid.

The Federal Free exercise Clause
Government employees have no right under the federal Free Exercise Clause to deny
citizens their service due to them being LGBT or being in a same-sex relationship. Under
Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), the Free Exercise Clause “does not
relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general
applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion
prescribes (or proscribes).”
The Equal Protection and the Due Process Clause
As I Have stated before, individuals who are attracted to members of the same sex have a
constitutional right, under the Equal Protection and the Due Process Clauses pursuant to the
14th Amendment, to get married "on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex
couples." Obergefell, 2015 WL 2473451, at *19.
By allowing government employees to refuse services to LGBT individuals and individuals
who are in a same-sex relationship would cause a delay, time restraint and a very much
inconvenience for the individuals who are trying to obtain service. It would demean an
individual who’s moral and sexual choices are protected by the United States Constitution.
See for example United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675, 2694 (2013). A denial of service
is a particular type of special disfavoring treatment that is absolutely unconstitutional
because under the law all have a right to be treated equally.
The Establishment Clause
Allowing state government employees to deny service to LGBT individuals and individuals
who are in a same-sex relationship would be a violation to the First Amendment's
Establishment Clause which would be extremely harmful to third parties. As I have stated
before, a denial of service would cause delay, be a time restraint and would be an
inconvenience for the individuals who are trying to obtain service. The First Amendment
Establishment Clause forbids religious exemptions that are harmful to third parties. See for
examples Cutter v. Wilkinson, 544 U.S. 709, 720 (2005) and Estate of Thornton v. Caldor,
Inc., 472 U.S. 703, 710 (1985).

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IV.

Conclusion
It is often embarrassing to look back at the history of the United States of America. From a
time when racial segregation used to be perfectly legal and praised to a time when
individuals who are attracted to members of the same-sex could not legally get married to
each other in some states. As a country we have progressed into a more perfect state,
however we are not quite there yet. Especially since anti-American bills such as the
Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act are trying to be
passed into state laws.
In conclusion I will respectfully request you Governor Phil Bryant of the State of Mississippi
to veto the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act that
has been sent to your office. Not only is that bill unconstitutional, but your job as the
Governor of the State of Mississippi is to protect all people from discrimination and to make
sure that the law is upheld. By signing House Bill 1523 into law, that would leave an
impression with Americans across the country and foreign citizens that you and the State of
Mississippi are once again on the wrong side of history.
The biggest threat to the United States of America progressing as a whole is not foreign
countries but us. One of the reasons why individuals join terrorist groups and terrorist
organizations is due to the fact that they do not feel accepted by their society or maybe
even by their own residence. While joining terrorist groups and terrorist organizations is
absolutely unacceptable and in some cases possibly illegal, signing an openly discriminatory
bill into law will make you, your administration and the whole State of Mississippi look
extremely bad and you would all be helping terrorists win.
Openly signing a discriminatory bill into law that targets citizens of your state is absolutely
wrong, unjust, disgusting and unconstitutional. I respectfully ask you again to please do not
sign Mississippi House Bill 1523 into law. The best test as to whether or not a state
government is being effective is by looking at the way in which they treat minorities.
Please note that your personal religious opinions on the LGBT community are your personal
opinions and your personal religious beliefs should have no bearing as to the way in which
you consider which pieces of passed legislation should become your state’s law. Also note
that this letter is not legal advice and is not intended to be viewed as legal advice. This letter
was created thanks to research and to the efforts of a handsome and intelligent American.

V.

Acknowledgement letter
An acknowledgement letter to my letter to you would be greatly appreciated. You can reach
me by electronic mail at: iscampaign@usa.com. You can also send me a letter to the
following mailing address:

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Isaiah X. Smith
Isaiah Smith Campaign
P.O Box 163411
Fort Worth, Texas, 76161

Respectfully,
Isaiah X. Smith
Isaiah Smith Campaign
P.O Box 163411
Fort Worth, Texas, 76161
www.isaiahxsmith.com

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