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 government.”

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.

(Related: Mississippi state Senator Jenifer Branning defends anti-gay bill: People of faith are under attack.)