The baseball team at Stony Brook University won't be able to travel to Mississippi next month for a three-game series with Southern Miss. But it's not the weather keeping them home – it's New York's governor.
Governor Mario Cuomo has banned all non-essential travel to Mississippi because of the Magnolia State's "religious freedom law" – which is formally known as the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523). It took effect in October.
Tim Wildmon, president of Mississippi-based American Family Association, says the Stony Brook Seawolves will miss out on the chance of some warmer weather baseball against a quality opponent. The three-game series was scheduled to take place in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, between February 23 and 25.
"What usually happens during college baseball season is that teams from the North come south so they can play baseball in February," he tells OneNewsNow, "and it's oftentimes difficult to play baseball in February, even in the South."
Mississippi's law protects people from discrimination who, because of their faith, believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman, that sex should be reserved for marriage, and that one's gender is set at birth.
"Basically it was designed to protect Christians from government oppression, as we've seen with the bakers and the florists," Wildmon explains, referring to several legal cases still in process. "The people of Mississippi did not want that to happen to people of faith."
Pro-LGBT activists and their supporters fought the law for months, predicting mass discrimination against the state's gay and lesbian residents. Wildmon dispels that argument.
"I asked the governor's office how many complaints have been filed in court that would signify this mass discrimination against LGBT," he offers. "Well, the governor's office said zero."
AFA's Walker Wildmon notes with some irony that liberals have finally found a travel ban they love:
"The left is always so against travel bans because [they say] it's discriminatory. Everyone should be welcomed in America ... everyone come, [they say]. But the New York governor is for travel restrictions. He's restricting U.S. citizens from visiting another state."
Governor Cuomo had previously signed an executive order preventing non-essential travel to North Carolina for what he perceived as another anti-LGBT statute – that state's law barring individuals from using public restrooms reserved for the opposite sex. A Stony Brook spokesman said this week they didn't know the travel ban included Mississippi.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.