Mississippi Enacts Religious Liberty Bill

Supported by nearly two-thirds of Mississippi voters, despite objections from special interests and big corporations.

(Reuters) – Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant on Tuesday signed a far-reaching law allowing people with religious objections to deny wedding services to same-sex couples and protecting other actions considered discriminatory by gay rights activists.

The measure also clears the way for employers to cite religion in determining workplace policies on dress code, grooming and bathroom and locker access, drawing criticism from civil rights leaders.   Bryant, a Republican, said in a statement he signed the law “to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions of individuals, organizations and private associations from discriminatory action by state government.”

LGBTQ protest 2

Mississippi is the latest state drawing national protest for a law seen as anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). North Carolina recently barred transgender people from choosing bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.   The ACLU, which is involved in a federal lawsuit challenging the North Carolina law, said it was considering its next steps in Mississippi.

Major U.S. companies have pushed back against such legislation, with the North Carolina law opposed by Apple Inc, Twitter Inc, Alphabet Inc and others.  On Tuesday, PayPal Holdings Inc canceled plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte, North Carolina and invest $3.6 million locally.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo responded by banning all non-essential state travel to Mississippi.

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