Michelle Obama, speaking in Mississippi at Jackson State University, slammed the state's so-called anti-LGBT law and urged students there to protect civil rights for all Americans.
The first lady spoke to a crowd of 35,000 on Saturday, while she received an honorary doctorate and addressed the nearly 800 undergraduates at Jackson's Veteran Memorial Stadium, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
"We see it right here in Mississippi, just two weeks ago, how swiftly progress can hurdle backwards, how easy it is to single out a small group and marginalize them for who they are or who they love," Obama said, referencing the state's House Bill 1523.
House Bill 1523, known as the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, was passed earlier this month and is meant to protect from discrimination claims anyone who believes that marriage is between one man and one woman, that sexual relations are reserved solely for marriage, and that the terms male and female pertain only to a person's genetics and anatomy at birth, noted CNN
The law will allow religious organizations and some businesses to deny LGBT people marriage, adoption, and foster care services; fire or refuse to employ them; and decline to rent or sell them property, said CNN.
"If we fail to exercise our fundamental right to vote, then I guarantee that so much of the progress we've fought for will be under threat," Obama told her audience, according to The Hill
"Statehouses will continue to roll back voting rights and write discrimination into the law. … We've got to stand side by side with all our neighbors – straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Hindu, immigrant, Native American – because the march for civil rights isn’t just about African-Americans, it’s about all Americans."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order banning all non-essential personnel from traveling to Mississippi after the House Bill 1523 became law in the state, noted The Blaze
, and singer Bryan Adams canceled a concert there.
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