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Groups to Rally Speaker, Governor Against H.B. 1523

JACKSON, MISS – Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), ACLU of Mississippi, and LGBT equality advocates including transgender advocate Blossom Brown, will urge lawmakers to not bring up House Bill 1523, The Religious Liberties Act. 

The HRC says they’ll hold a press conference at the Capitol, at 11:30am, asking House Speaker Philip Gunn to not to bring up the  bill for a final vote.

After the House’s expected vote, HRC, ACLU of Mississippi, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood Southeast as well as LGBT people, families, and allies from across the state, will head to the Governor’s mansion to rally against his signature.

Some of the state’s largest employers — including Nissan Group of North America, Tyson Food Inc, MGM Resorts International, Toyota and the Mississippi Economic Council — have all come out against the bill. AT&T, IBM, Levi Strauss & Co., and MassMutual have also released statements condemning the legislation. In the state of Georgia, a similar bill was vetoed after Disney and The Walking Dead said they would boycott the state if it passed.

Under H.B. 1523, the “Religious Liberty Accommodations Act,” the HRC says religion could be used by most any individual or organization to justify discrimination against LGBT people, single mothers, unwed couples and others.

Taxpayer funded faith-based organizations could refuse to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples for provision of critical services including emergency shelter; deny children in need of loving homes placement with LGBT families including the child’s own family member; and refuse to sell or rent a for-profit home to an LGBT person even if the organization receives government funding.

Authors of the bill say the legislation was meant to protect those who didn’t want to violate their beliefs, for example, a circuit clerk wouldn’t have to marry a same-sex couple, he or she would just pass that responsibility to someone else without any fear of being persecuted by the law.

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