Mississippi governor signs religious liberty law

Religious Liberty | The Religious Liberty Accommodations Act is designed to ‘protect sincerely held religious beliefs’
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 4/05/16, 05:40 pm

A new state law known as the Religious Liberty Accommodations Act will now protect business owners in Mississippi who believe in traditional marriage.

The state’s Republican governor, Phil Bryant, said he signed Mississippi House Bill 1523 on Tuesday “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 Religious Liberty Accommodations Act cites cases where the government fined or forced closure of wedding-related businesses because they would not participate in ceremony involving a homosexual union. The law protects the convictions of those who believe marriage is between one man and one woman, that sex is for marriage alone, and that “maleness” or “femaleness” refers to a person’s actual biology.

“In a pluralistic society, in which people of good faith hold more than one view of marriage, it is possible for the government to recognize same-sex marriage without forcing persons with sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions to conform,” the act states.

Bryant intended the law to prevent government from interfering with people’s lives, but opponents of the legislation would like to see more interference levied by the state.

Hundreds of protesters surrounded the governor’s mansion on Monday, holding signs reading “Veto HB 1523,” and “No Hate in My State.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT activist group, addressed the crowd and called on the governor to veto the bill.

He referred to the bill as a “draconian measure” that would discriminate against LGBT people.

Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, spoke out against the bill in a statement: “It is an attack on the citizens of our state, and it will serve as the Magnolia State’s badge of shame.”

Supporters of the law are pleased, seeing it as a needed protection of religious liberty.

Tony Perkins, president of The Family Research Council, told The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger his organization applauded state leaders for the move: “No person should be punished by the government with crippling fines, or face disqualification for simply believing what President Obama believed just a few years ago, that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.”

The Religious Liberty Accommodations Act doesn’t represent Mississippi’s first move to protect traditional marriage. The new act follows on the heels of the 2014 Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which declared that the state “shall not burden a person’s right to the exercise of religion.”

The new law will take effect July 1.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

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  • JSchultz
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    Finally, some backbone and common sense; why did it take so long?

  • SouthernHospitality
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    To Sawgunner- your sarcasm and comments on MS needed a response! Kuddos to Governor Bryant and the State Legislature for passing a very common sense religious liberty bill. LGBT types need not be afraid of this law or of MS, but we want reasonable protections from their attempts to highjack the culture of our country and state. MS is a great state that I am proud to live in - not anything close to a "Haiti of the Deep South". We aren't perfect, but we are making steady progress on multiple fronts- economically as well. Companies like Nissan, Toyota, and Continental Tire are a few among many that have found out that MS is a great place for business. Nobody beats our Southern hospitality as well, so come on over and visit a while! You might end up staying!

  • Janet S
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    Thank you Governor Bryant for standing up to the LGBT.  The LGBT does not have to trample all citizens rights in order to live their life style.

  • Sawgunner's picture
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    I set aside my sarcasm. I know Georgia and NC ea have substantial monetary interests which will now likely be threatened by the Religious Liberty laws. But Mississippi?? The terms "economic powerhouse" and Mississippi are in not only disjoined Venn diagrams they are in different books in libraries a time zone apart. I hold unceasing love and admiration for the Magnolia state yet I acknowledge it remains the so-called Haiti of the Deep South. The only thriving industry down yonder appears to be the plaintiffs personal injury law biz where they have made the state the home of runaway jackpot jury awards-- although the state legislature (comprised of a heavy smattering of attorneys) ---did enact some type of common sense "tort reform" a few years back. Gov Bryant will likely face no serious challenge on this. Nothing lost no political or economic cost. Too bad Gov Bentley himself couldn't get out in front of some type of proMarriage bill in nearby Alabama.

  • Sawgunner's picture
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    I guess all those planeloads of homosexual tourists from NYC or San Fran will do a mid-air about face and NOT go on to land in Pascagoula, Jackson, Oxford, Vicksburg. And you know full well Mississippi will be hurt by not having an interior decorator convention or leather drag queen competition. Oh well, they'll always have Nawlins.

  • creekmama
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    This North Carolinian applauds Mississippi.

  • jsr
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    How many times has Mississippi been the butt of jokes like, "Thank God for Mississippi."  Looks to me this time the joke is on Georgia.  "Thank God for the courage of the Governor of the State of Mississippi."

  • Zinger
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    Makes one want to move to Mississippi.

  • Marci
    Posted: Tue, 05/10/2016 02:56 pm

    Good for you and Mississippi. .God bless you Governor.