Canadian singer-songwriter Bryan Adams is canceling an upcoming concert in Mississippi after the state passed a religious liberty law giving wedding-related business owners the right not to work same-sex weddings because of their religious convictions.
Adams, probably best known for his hit "Summer of '69," was scheduled to play a show at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi Thursday. Adams, however, took issue with the state's recently passed HB 1523 and decided that he could not "in good conscience" perform "in a state where certain people are being denied their civil rights due to their sexual orientation."
The 56-year-old released a statement on his website and social media accounts Sunday telling fans that he is no longer going to perform in Mississippi until the law is changed, explaining that he finds it "incomprehensible that LGBT citizens are being discriminated against."
"Using my voice I stand in solidarity with all my LGBT friends to repeal this extremely discriminatory bill," Adams' statement reads. "Hopefully Mississippi will right itself and I can come back and perform for all of my many fans. I look forward to that day."
Adams' cancellation comes after Bruce Springsteen cancelled Sunday's concert in Greensboro, North Carolina, because of the state's recently passed law prohibiting city and local governments from passing laws that would force places of public accommodation to allow people to use restrooms and changing areas of the gender in which they identify. Thus allowing men to use women's restrooms and vice versa.
Mississippi's Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said in an interview with the Heritage Foundation's Genevieve Wood Monday that Adams and other opponents of the religious liberty law have gotten the wrong impression of the bill and blames the mainstream media for making the public think the bill does more than protect the religious freedoms of business owners of faith-based institutions.
"It is disappointing that people just react emotionally about this and it is not their fault because the media is helping them form an idea that is just completely untrue and misrepresents what the bill does," Bryant stated."The bill simply says that the government of the state of Mississippi and its political subdivisions cannot discriminate against people of faith, who hold deeply-held religious beliefs when it comes to marriage or other religious activities."
"So, if a baker or photographer or someone that may own a building says, 'My religious beliefs won't allow me to become involved in your same-sex wedding,' go to another one," Bryant continued. "There are plenty of other bakers or photographers. But, the state can't come in and take your business license or fine you if you don't do that."
Bryant added that the law does not allow other businesses, like restaurants or stores, to prevent serving gay people just because they are gay.
"If you want to go and eat at the restaurant or buy a car … there are no laws in the state of Mississippi that would allow or even encourage or even hint that you might be [denied service,]" Bryant added. "Now, it's all about perception. Now they say, 'Well, this bill may give somebody the impression they can do that.' Oh my goodness, now we are having to deal with impressions when it deals with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution."
Ryan Anderson, a senior fellow with the Heritage Foundation and author of Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Liberty," penned an op-ed Monday criticising the left's hypocrisy in its outrage over Mississippi's and North Carolina's religious freedom laws.
"So Springsteen and Adams are exercising their freedom of conscience by boycotting states that sought to protect the consciences of adoption agencies, religious schools, bakers, and florists," Anderson wrote. "Do they not see the hypocrisy?"
Anderson also stated that Adams' has the wrong understanding about the Mississippi law.
"Adams wrote: 'I cannot in good conscience perform in a state where certain people are being denied their civil rights,'" Anderson explained. "He's wrong about the laws — they don't deny anyone civil rights. Instead, they protect civil rights. They protect religious freedom, which, as the liberal American Civil Liberties Union once acknowledged, is a civil liberty."