The Mississippi Senate on Wednesday
approved a so-called religious freedom bill that broadly protects
opponents of marriage equality.
House Bill 1523 cleared the upper
chamber with a 30-17 vote. A second vote, considered a formality, is
expected later this week.
The Mississippi House overwhelmingly
approved the bill in February, but a slight change in the Senate
version means another vote must be taken.
Republican Governor Phil Bryant is
expected to sign the bill into law.
House Bill 1523 would protect
individuals – a broad category which could include certain
businesses – who act on their religious objections to marriage
equality and transgender people. It would protect people who believe
that “sexual relations are properly reserved” for married
heterosexual couples and that a person's sex is “objectively
determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”
In comments to BuzzFeed
News, Erik Fleming, director of advocacy and policy for the ACLU
of Mississippi, called the bill “very dangerous” because it
“basically sanctions religious discrimination.”
The vote comes as North Carolina faces
increasing pressure from the business community and rights groups to
repeal a similar bill approved during a one-day special session.
Cook, Marc Benioff, Sundar Pichai call on North Carolina to repeal