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Wed May 14, 2014, 04:55 PM

MS Gov. Phil Bryant: A Terrible Example of Love for his Gay Son

Last edited Thu May 15, 2014, 10:28 AM - Edit history (2)

I am a native Mississippian, and I currently still live, work, and go to school in the state. I have always had a lot of pride in my state for reasons that many don’t get to hear about due to the backwards politics and history of discrimination within the state. Growing up here was an experience I would not ever wish to change. I had woods to play in all day long, my summers were spent at the river either kayaking or swimming, and I could fish anytime I wanted, thanks to the five-acre lake at my grandmother’s house. Life was good.

As I have gotten older and wiser, I have realized that Mississippi is a kind of “Neverland” that hasn't grown into a state to support adults. We are the poorest, most illiterate state in the country and, now that the Governor has signed SB 2681 into law with his buddy Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council present, I can be discriminated against by anyone who cites religion as their reason.

After the signing, Governor Bryant said “I am proud to sign the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act today, which will protect the individual religious freedom of Mississippians of all faiths from government interference. Mississippi has now joined 18 other states to defend religious freedoms on a state level.” However, the American Family Association claims "Christian business owners have the inalienable right to refuse to participate in, or provide service to, same-sex marriage ceremonies and activities if it violates their religious convictions." Governor Bryant has made it clear that he is unconcerned with gun control, women’s rights, LGBT discrimination, and many other major social justice issues that currently plague our country and our state. So what is a gay person like myself to do while the Governor of my beautiful state runs it even further into the ground than it already was? I refuse to sit still and hold my tongue while Governor Bryant holds himself up as morally superior to me and to my friends, so the only thing I have left to do is to speak the truth.

While the Republican Governor’s Association claims Governor Bryant is “known for strong integrity and sincere concern for his fellow man,” I have a very different impression of him. Governor Bryant is often painted as a family man held up as an example for those who are seeking a model of honesty and integrity. However, his actions throughout his reign as Governor have screamed otherwise.

In 2012, First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, MS, refused to marry an African-American couple based on their religious beliefs. Governor Bryant said that such bigotry was “disappointing,” and “tainted” the state’s reputation. However, when asked if he believed same-sex couples should be allowed to wed, the Governor quickly responded, “I wouldn’t say gay couples, no… I’d say a man and a woman. Let me make sure, let’s get that right: When I say couples, I automatically assume it’s a man and a woman.” This stammering, defensive “response” isn't simply ill-informed and simplistic – it gives a window into the kind of balance that Governor Bryant is trying to strike between cow-towing to his backward base and maintaining a relationship with his gay son.

I don't believe in outing “civilians” – those who haven't made the decision to enter into elected office themselves. However, Governor Bryant's son is out to his friends and family, and hasn't made a secret of his life – though the governor has done everything possible to shove his son back into the proverbial closet. I've attended parties with the governor’s son and we share many of the same friends. And, while I respect his right to live his life as he sees fit, I cannot sit idly by and watch Governor Bryant reap the benefits of a hypocritical public profile. Governor Bryant has repeatedly put his family at risk for his political career – even covering up a violent mugging of his son to avoid letting the public know that his son was at a gay Halloween party. This is a man who is politically craven – who would put his son's life at risk in order to maintain the mirage that his frothing-at-the-mouth conservative base wants to believe.

Governor Bryant signed SB 2681 into law, making it perfectly legal to discriminate against practically anyone, as long as the discrimination can be justified by one’s religious beliefs. This makes LGBT folks a target population for such discrimination here in the Deep South – including Governor Bryant's own son. It can already be extremely difficult living in Mississippi's social and political climate but, with this bill’s passage, LGBT Mississippians' fates are sealed.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant needs to have a “come to Jesus” moment. While he maintained at the signing of this bill that he was protecting the religious freedom of Mississippians, what he ended up doing was to throw his own family under the bus as he advocated for the “family values” of others. While he espouses Christian values, he remains morally bankrupt. While he espouses adherence to “traditional” definitions of family, he sits in judgment of his own family. While he touts that he wants to make Mississippi welcoming to all, he has turned his back on his very own son – and has now cemented into law that others across the state are free to do exactly the same.

The bottom line is that Governor Phil Bryant is not the Christian crusader with wholesome family values that he is often painted to be. I believe him to be a rogue. He has continued a long legacy of robbing Mississippians of their rights. Despite shootings happening all over the country he just signed a bill into law allowing a tax-free weekend on all guns and ammunition. He has even denied justice to his own son by not pursuing those who assaulted him, and has repeatedly made clear that he would do so again and is very anti-gay. If this is what “traditional family values” look like, I suppose I need to grow up and must consider leaving the “Neverland” of Mississippi that obviously has no future in store for me as an adult.

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply MS Gov. Phil Bryant: A Terrible Example of Love for his Gay Son (Original post)
zach.magee May 2014 OP
Faux pas May 2014 #1
Aristus May 2014 #2
William769 May 2014 #3
LuvNewcastle May 2014 #4
hrmjustin May 2014 #5
totodeinhere May 2014 #6
brer cat May 2014 #7
trof May 2014 #8
zach.magee May 2014 #9
jeff47 May 2014 #14
zach.magee May 2014 #15
tom_kelly May 2014 #10
Bortman33 May 2014 #11
gvstn May 2014 #12
LoisB May 2014 #13
LuckyLib May 2014 #16

Response to zach.magee (Original post)

Wed May 14, 2014, 05:09 PM

1. ...

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Response to zach.magee (Original post)

Wed May 14, 2014, 05:24 PM

2. Welcome to DU.

Well said!...

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Response to zach.magee (Original post)

Wed May 14, 2014, 05:30 PM

3. Great read.

to DU.


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Response to zach.magee (Original post)

Wed May 14, 2014, 05:36 PM

4. Welcome to DU from a fellow gay Mississippian.

There are a few others here that I'm aware of. I didn't know until I read your post that Bryant's son is gay. I already had a low opinion of the governor, but now that I read this, I think even less of him.

I'm sorry to hear about the attack on him, and it's inconceivable to me that a man in Bryant's position wouldn't seek justice for his son because of what the publicity might do to his image. I'm sure his son's feelings about his father are complicated, as are my feelings about some of my own family members, but I'm sure he's very hurt by his father's actions, or inaction, in his case. I'm glad he has a friend like you. He needs a lot of friends to make up for his family's shortcomings.

I think just about any gay person in Mississippi has a whole list of things about the state that they would love to change if they could; it's just pointless to talk about it much because progress happens here either very slowly or not at all. A lot of us leave as soon as we're able and never look back. Others stay and just try to make the best of it. Sometimes I'm sure that I'm going to get out one day, and then sometimes I think that I'll die here. If I stay, my goal is to at least try to do my part to leave things a little better for those who follow me than what I experienced when I was growing up. I guess that's about the most any of us can do here.

I'm not going to try to tell anyone how to live his life, but I would love to see Bryant's son come out publicly and discuss how he's been treated by his father. The public should know what kind of man they have in the governor's office, and the way Bryant has treated his son says everything one needs to know about the man's character. I don't expect the son to do this out of respect for his father, and I'm not even sure I would have the guts to do it myself if I were in his shoes, but I think it would be a truly great thing if he did do that. Tell him for me that I support him and respect him no matter what he does. I hope you enjoy being a member of DU, and I hope you stick around for a good long while. I think you'll find the people here very welcoming and supportive.

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Response to zach.magee (Original post)

Wed May 14, 2014, 05:52 PM

5. Welcome to Du my friend.

 

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Response to zach.magee (Original post)

Wed May 14, 2014, 06:02 PM

6. Keep your chin up. That law will probably eventually be overturned by the courts. n/t

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Response to zach.magee (Original post)

Wed May 14, 2014, 06:21 PM

7. Excellent post, zach.magee.

Welcome to DU!

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Response to zach.magee (Original post)

Wed May 14, 2014, 06:55 PM

8. Welcome, but jeeez...make some paragraphs.

This is damn hard to wade through.

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Response to trof (Reply #8)

Wed May 14, 2014, 07:06 PM

9. Paragraphs

If you will look, there are paragraphs. For some reason the website wouldn't allow me to indent the beginning of a new one though.

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Response to zach.magee (Reply #9)

Thu May 15, 2014, 10:05 AM

14. The typical way to make them appear as paragraphs

is to put a blank line between. Deals with all the odd interfaces that people use when reading DU. So I make a new paragraph...

like this.

And this is another paragraph. Reason being a tab isn't the same thing on a computer and a tablet and a phone. Or even using different browsers on those platforms. However, they all understand carriage return. And that breaks up your document as paragraphs are intended to do.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #14)

Thu May 15, 2014, 10:32 AM

15. Bam!

We now have paragraphs!

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Response to zach.magee (Original post)

Wed May 14, 2014, 07:08 PM

10. Well put, Zach n/t

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Response to zach.magee (Original post)

Wed May 14, 2014, 07:09 PM

11. Fantastic post.

 

The people who promote these laws, vote for these laws, enforce these laws, and choose to incwhorepoRATe these laws into their businesses have more then just a major "Hole in their Soul", they also have a devastating "Stain on their Brain!"

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Response to zach.magee (Original post)

Wed May 14, 2014, 07:19 PM

12. Welcome to DU!

Good read. Finish school and then see how you feel about remaining in "Neverland".

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Response to zach.magee (Original post)

Wed May 14, 2014, 07:28 PM

13. Very well said.

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Response to zach.magee (Original post)

Thu May 15, 2014, 06:27 PM

16. You only go around once. If u need to leave to

experience a welcoming environment, do so. I couldn't live with such bigotry and hate, which pretty much rules out places like AZ, TX, MS, etc. My best to those who have to stay there.

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