Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant on
Tuesday signed a so-called religious freedom bill into law.
The legislation, House Bill 1523,
protects individuals – a broad category which includes 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.”
Opponents argue that the law sanctions
discrimination against the LGBT community.
Bryant, a Republican, tweeted that he
had signed the bill into law “to protect sincerely held religious
beliefs and moral convictions … from discriminatory action by state
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights group, condemned the governor's move and
promised to work for repeal of the law.
“Gov Phil Bryant adds his name to a
list of disgraced Southern governors by signing this hateful and
discriminatory bill into law,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
“Just as we're doing elsewhere, we will continue to rally
fair-minded voters, businesses and civil rights advocates to repeal.
Some of Mississippi's largest
employers, including Nissan Group of North America, Tyson Foods and
Toyota, had publicly called on Bryant to reject the bill.
state Senator Jenifer Branning defends anti-gay bill: People of faith
are under attack.)