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Mississippi Governor Signs Law Protecting Religious Freedom
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Mississippi governor

Summary: Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi signed a new bill that will protect organizations from going against their religious beliefs but discriminates against the LGBT community.

In a controversial move, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill that allows businesses and government workers to refuse service to lesbian and gay couples. Bill HB 1523 was designed 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.”


The new law, also known as the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, has already received intense opposition from LGBT groups, businesses and the Mississippi Economic Council for creating a discriminatory atmosphere against lesbians and gays.

Read ACLU Sues North Carolina Over Transgender Bathroom Law to learn more.

The Freedom for All Americans, a gay rights advocacy group, calls the new law “the nation’s worst piece of anti-LGBT legislation.” Executive director of the group, Matt McTighe said, “Indiana and North Carolina’s anti-LGBT laws were horrendous, but Gov. Bryant’s bill goes even further in denying critical protections and enabling discrimination against LGBT individuals.”

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The purpose of the bill authored by Speaker of the Mississippi House, Philip Gunn, was to protect people who believe marriage is the union between a man and woman, sexual relations should only happen inside of marriage, and only recognize the terms “male” and “female” when it relates to an individual’s “biological sex.”

See Oregon Bakery Pays $135K to Same-Sex Couple for Refusing to Make Wedding Cake.

The bill will prohibit government interference against churches, religious charities, and private businesses the refuse service to people when it violates their religious beliefs. Gov. Bryant explained, “This bill does not limit any constitutionally protected rights or actions of any citizen of this state under federal or state laws. It does not attempt to challenge federal laws, even those which are in conflict with the Mississippi Constitution, as the Legislature recognizes the prominence of federal law in such limited circumstances.”

Read Mississippi Ban on Same-Sex Couples Ability to Adopt Challenged.

The law will protect government employees from issuing marriage licenses or performing marriage ceremonies. It will also allow businesses and faith-based groups to deny jobs, housing, and child related services such as adoption and foster care services to people that associate as a member of the LGBT community.




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