Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, a Republican, was honored last week for signing 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 protects 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.

Tony Perkins, president of the Christian conservative group Family Research Council (FRC), presented Bryant with its first ever “Samuel Adams Religious Freedom Award” at its Watchmen on the Wall conference for signing House Bill 1523.

In accepting the award, Bryant praised Perkins for his leadership and recalled how “all of the secular progressive world had decided that they were going to pour their anger” out on him for backing the legislation.

“They don't know us very well, do they?” he rhetorically asked. “They don't know that Christians have been persecuted throughout the ages. They don't know that if it takes crucifixion, we will stand in line before abandoning our faith and our belief in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So, if we are going to stand, now is the time and this is the place.”