Ellen DeGeneres has always been an outspoken proponent of LGBTQ rights, so it is no surprise that she has spoken out against the controversial laws being passed in Mississippi, Georgia, and North Carolina. Though these laws are supposedly being created to support religious freedom, in reality, they can often be used to discriminate against LGBTQ people. As DeGeneres humorously says, “When I see something wrong, I have to talk about it. It’s the same thing that I do when I see men wearing spandex in line at Starbucks.”
Degeneres is using her position as an LGBTQ celebrity advocate to speak out against this form of discrimination. The bill specifically states that it would allow people to deny goods or services that would be used for celebrating or recognizing a marriage that is against their religious belief. This can result in LGBTQ people being denied access to common wedding venues, not being able to order wedding cakes or invitations, or not being able to buy a wedding dress if the owners of these businesses are homophobic. For many LGBTQ people, this bill would have long lasting effects that may prevent them from celebrating their wedding anniversaries for years to come. It could potentially even be used to deny LGBTQ people access to community services for housing, employment, or adoption.
Some people are attempting to make the Mississippi bill seem like it would only support religious freedom, but DeGeneres makes it clear that bills like this one are a form of open discrimination. For LGBTQ couples in very conservative communities, they may not be able to find a single local business that will sell them items or agree to work for them.
It could have serious implications that result in discrimination and oppression. Though bills like these are very worrisome for the LGBTQ community, DeGeneres encourages her viewers by saying, “If you’re in Mississippi or North Carolina, or anywhere, and you’re saddened by the fact that people are judging you based on who you love, don’t lose hope. I was fired for being gay…but look at me now.”
In the face of growing oppression and discrimination, DeGeneres’ message of hope is extremely meaningful. She dismisses criticisms for getting involved in politics and continues to use her public platform to support anti-discrimination and equality. It is sad that in these troubled times, more people are not listening to her message. However, it is still a nice reminder that not everyone is focused on limiting LGBTQ rights, and it is good to know that there is an iconic celebrity who openly advocates for “less hate and for more love, less tearing apart and more coming together.”