mhpMSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry slammed Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant on her show for signing a bill, similar to the legislation vetoed in Arizona, that would codify anti-gay discrimination into law under the auspices of protecting “religious freedom”:

On its face, the bill — which is similar to an Arizona bill vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer in February — aims to “protect the individual religious freedom of Mississippians of all faiths from government interference.” But in practice would allows businesses to discriminate against certain groups on the grounds of “religious freedom.” As Harris-Perry asserted in her segment, the “vague” language in Mississippi’s bill allowed it to sidestep the national controversy incited by Arizona’s bill.

As in Arizona, state law already permits the firing (or not hiring) of LGBT people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity as well as the denial of housing.

“Governor, what you did was make it even easier than it already was to discriminate against LGBT Mississippians,” Harris-Perry declared. “Basically, you gave bigots yet another avenue to dehumanize their LGBT neighbors.”

Watch the segment:

You can read the full text of Perry’s open letter on MSNBC’s website.

David Mixner has also weighed in on the law, noting that, considering Mississippi’s history, “maybe it is appropriate that Mississippi become the first state to reinstate a form of segregation”:

Am I being too tough in using the world segregation? Am I dishonoring the efforts to end such a plague in the 1960’s?

Absolutely not.

When anyone can deny me the right to eat in a restaurant or sleep in a hotel because I am an LGBT American then that is segregation.

Now if I should travel to the Magnolia State, I will have to figure out where I can do business, where I can sleep and if I will be denied service in a particular restaurant.

What if a plumber won’t fix a flooding home? How about a contractor refusing to build an LGBT couple a house? Can a person selling insurance refuse to sell LGBT Mississippians a policy? If an LGBT couple lives in a small Mississippi town, can all the businesses refuse them service based on faith?

Any American who cares about their fellow LGBT citizens must take a stand.

Indeed. Click over to read the rest.