Canadian rocker Bryan Adams canceled a planned concert in Mississippi this week over the state’s recent passage of what he called the “extremely discriminatory, anti-LGBT” Religious Liberty bill.
In a statement posted to his official website, the 56-year-old musician said he “cannot in good conscience” perform a concert in a state “where certain people are being denied their civil rights due to their sexual orientation.”
Adams had been scheduled to perform at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi on Thursday.
“I find it incomprehensible that LGBT citizens are being discriminated against in the state of Mississippi,” Adams wrote, adding:
Therefore [I]’m cancelling my 14 April show at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. Using my voice I stand in solidarity with all my LGBT friends to repeal this extremely discriminatory bill. Hopefully Mississippi will right itself and I can come back and perform for all of my many fans. I look forward to that day.
Earlier this month, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1523 — also known as the Religious Liberty bill — into law, shortly after the legislation passed the state legislature. The law allows religious organizations and some private businesses to refuse service to LGBT people based on their religious beliefs. The law also bars local communities in the state from enacting their own anti-discrimination ordinances, and mandates that transgender people use public restrooms that correspond with their biological sex.
In a statement upon signing the bill, Gov. Bryant wrote that its aim was to protect “sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions of individuals, organizations and private associations from discriminatory action by state government or its political subdivisions.”
Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, said in a statement that the bill “flies in the face of basic American principles of fairness, justice and equality.”
“Far from protecting anyone from ‘government discrimination’ as the bill claims, it is an attack on the citizens of our state, and it will serve as the Magnolia State’s badge of shame,” she said.
Adams is the latest musician to cancel a concert over a religious freedom law. Last week, Bruce Springsteen canceled a planned concert in Greensboro, North Carolina, over that state’s recent passage of the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which similarly mandates that transgender people use public bathrooms that correspond with their biological sex.
“Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry … is one of them,” Springsteen wrote of the cancellation.
Adams is set to perform in Tulsa on Monday and in San Antonio on Tuesday. The rocker will then skip the planned Biloxi concert on Thursday and will play in Nashville on Friday night and in Alpharetta, Georgia, on Saturday.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum.