Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has signed the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" into law, WLOX reports:
Members and supporters of the LGBT community are concerned the bill will open the door to discrimination against gay people and other groups. Opponents of the bill say the discrimination could also be directed towards ethnic minorities and other religious groups.
Supporters claim the bill mirrors the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Said Bryant: "I am proud to sign the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act today, which will protect the individual religious freedoms of Mississippians of all faiths from government interference. Mississippi has now joined 18 other states to defend religious freedoms on a state level."
The bill's language reads:
"A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against the government … This section applies to all state laws, rules, regulations and any municipal or county ordinances, rules or regulations and the implementation of those laws, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether adopted before or after the enactment of this section."
GetEQUAL released a statement:
Today is a sad day for Mississippi and a sad day for the country. Earlier today, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act — a hate-filled bill that asserts both the moral and legal superiority of anti-LGBT Christians over and above everyone else.
We had hoped that the governor would see that this bill will further isolate Mississippi within the business community. We had hoped that the governor would see that this bill will hurt those who live in the state or who are considering moving there. We had hoped that the governor would see that this bill will, in fact, hurt his own family and people who he loves. We had hoped that the "family values" that the governor espouses would hold true and that he would act in a way that fully values his own family. Unfortunately, hatred and ignorance won out today — and our hearts are with those fair-minded Mississippians who call the state home.