Singer Jimmy Buffet and novelist John Grisham have taken hard stances against two recently passed state bills: North Carolina's transgender-unfriendly one and Mississippi's "religious liberty" law.
Buffet is currently scheduled to play two shows in North Carolina, one in Raleigh on April 21 and one in Charlotte on April 23.
But he came down hard against North Carolina's decision to replace an anti-discrimination bill with a law that bans transgender people from using the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice in a blog post on his Margaritaville blog.
Here is his statement in full:
As a traveling musician for 40 years, I played many shows years ago, in many states where you could go to prison for 20 years for smoking a joint. It was a stupid law based on stupid assumptions. Time has fortunately reversed a lot of that way of thinking. But now another stupid law, based on stupid assumptions, has sprung up like kudzu in North Carolina, where we are scheduled to play shows next week in Raleigh and Charlotte.
North Carolina was there for me as a performer in the early days and I have always felt a loyalty to fans there that goes deep. Rightly so, a lot of people are reacting to the stupid law. I happen to believe that the majority of our fans in North Carolina feel the way I do about that law.
I am lucky enough to have found a job in the business of fun. These shows were booked and sold out long before the governor signed that stupid law. I am not going to let stupidity or bigotry trump fun for my loyal fans this year. We will be playing in Raleigh and Charlotte next week.
That said, as for the future of shows in North Carolina, it would definitely depend on whether that stupid law is repealed. That is up to the good people of North Carolina and there are many, and I am confident that they will see that the right thing will be done. As Forrest [Gump] said, "Stupid is as stupid does."
On a more emphatic note, Grisham, along with 95 other authors from Mississippi, signed a letter expressing their disgust at the Magnolia State's new "religious liberty" law, which they believe will unfairly discriminate against LGBT people under the guise of protecting religious freedoms.
Other authors who signed the letter, which was originally published Monday in the Jackson Free Press, include The Help author Kathryn Stockett, The Secret History author Donna Tartt ESPN.com writer Wright Thompson.
Here is the full version of their statement:
Mississippi has a thousand histories, but these can be boiled down to two strains: our reactionary side, which has nourished intolerance and degradation and brutality, which has looked at difference as a threat, which has circled tightly around the familiar and the monolithic; and our humane side, which treasures compassion and charity and a wide net of kinship, which is fascinated by character and story, which is deeply involved in the daily business of our neighbors.
This core kindness, the embracing of wildness and weirdness, is what has nurtured the great literature that has come from our state. What literature teaches us is empathy. It reminds us to reach out a hand to our neighbors — even if they look different from us, love different from us — and say, "Why, I recognize you; you're a human, just like me, sprung from the same messy place, bound on the same hard road."
Mississippi authors have written through pain, and they have written out of disappointment, but they have also written from wonder, and pride, and a fierce desire to see the politics of this state live up to its citizens. It is deeply disturbing to so many of us to see the rhetoric of hate, thinly veiled, once more poison our political discourse. But Gov. Phil Bryant and the Mississippi legislators who voted for this bill are not the sole voices of our state. There have always been people here battling injustice. That's the version of Mississippi we believe in, and that's the Mississippi we won't stop fighting for.
#The 95 undersigned writers from Mississippi stand opposed to any violation of civil rights, including discrimination against LGBTQ citizens, and call for the repeal of the recently enacted House Bill 1523.