Mississippi Business Owners Protest Religious Freedom Law
Business owners in Mississippi are protesting the state’s “religious freedom” policy.
Certain business owners in Mississippi are showing their support for LGBTQ equality by pushing back on the conservative state’s “religious freedom” law.
The law, which goes into effect on July 1, will make it easy (and legal) for people to refuse to provide service to same-sex couples. Essentially, it’s discrimination hidden in the concept of religion.
In Mississippi, hundreds of business who don’t agree with the law have started to display their support by displaying blue stickers in their windows. The stickers declare: “We don’t discriminate. If you’re buying, we’re selling.”
The sticker campaign was started this month in response to the signing the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was signed by Republican Governor Phil Bryant.
Hair salon owner Eddie Outlaw, who went out of the state to marry his husband, is concerned about the law. “People are going to take it as permission, if you will, to discriminate against people they don’t necessarily agree with or like,” he stated. “We have a long and well-documented history of discrimination in this state. To think there won’t be any discrimination is laughable.”
Governor Bryant doesn’t believe that the law will lead to discrimination against gay and lesbian residents of Mississippi. “I would hope that people will realize that the law has no element in it that the federal law does not have in it,” he said. “It is the same discussion of not burdening someone’s religious freedom—that the government, government should not burden someone’s religious freedom without a compelling interest.”
Just because someone is conservative doesn’t mean that they agree with Bryant’s statement. Mitchell Moore, a bakery owner, helped to create the sticker campaign. “I am a straight, white, Southern, Christian conservative male,” Moore stated. “I don’t understand why Christians consider one sin worse than another sin.”
Previously, Arizona made headlines when Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a similar bill.
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