Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill into law Tuesday that will have a major impact on the LGBT community in the state. House Bill 1523 would allow businesses to ban service to same-sex couples from entering their establishments and the language in the law spreads an even further divisive tone.
As reported by CBS News, Gov. Bryant announced the signing of H.B. 1523 via Twitter with an attachement to the full statment. In essence, the bill would give public and private business owners the right to refuse service to gay people if it clashes with their religious beliefs.
From CBS News:
Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1523, despite opposition from gay-rights groups and some businesses who say it enables discrimination. Some conservative and religious groups support the bill.
The measure’s stated intention is to protect those who believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman, that sexual relations should only take place inside such marriages, and that male and female genders are unchangeable.
“This bill merely reinforces the rights which currently exist to the exercise of religious freedom as stated in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” the Republican governor wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter account.
The bill will allow churches and religious charities to decline service along the same basis. While the state government cannot turn down services, individual government workers can still use the bill to defend their right to refusal.
Opponents of the law have been protesting of late, with the local ACLU releasing a statement saying that the law’s passing is a “sad day” for the state.