/Crowd chants no hate in our state

Crowd chants no hate in our state

As protestors gathered on Capitol Street, they shouted “no hatred in our state” and protested the “religious liberty” bill. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law last month. The bill’s supporters claim it allows business owners to refuse to serve gay couples if it violates their religious beliefs. However, opponents claim it encourages discrimination against gays, lesbians, and transgender Mississippians. Ten of the opponents took to the small stage just outside the gates. Many expressed frustration at the inaction of the legislature and governor to repeal a law they claim hurts Mississippi’s gay residents as much as it hurts Mississippi. Chad Griffin, president and CEO of the Human Rights Campaign said that “they’ve done nothing” to repair the damage they did to this great country. Griffin compared the “religious freedom bill” to Jim Crow legislation, which has hung over the state for many decades. He also compared current legislators to disgraced Mississippi politicians who supported segregation. Griffin stated, “We know history will recall Phil Bryant in the same way if it doesn’t stand up for the right thing.” Griffin did not request comment from the governor’s office. “I find this bill embarrassing. Jenna Corwin, a woman who attended the rally along with her boyfriend, said that although she is not gay, she was there because she was tired of Mississippi friends making fun of Mississippi. Veterans, clergy members and representatives of social justice organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and American Civil Liberties Union were among the other speakers. Griffin stressed the “unprecedented alliance” of these groups who have come together to oppose the law. We are not just members of the gay community. Felicia Brown, regional director for public policy at Planned Parenthood Southeast, stated that we are all whole people who live whole lives and must stand together. “These fools will continue to win and that is something we cannot allow to happen,” said Felicia Brown, regional director of public policy at Planned Parenthood Southeast. Susan Hrostowski (an Episcopal minister) argued that the bill is not about religion. This issue is a distraction. Hrostowski stated that we didn’t have the right to keep our jobs or bake a cake, and was referring to Mississippi’s inability to provide job protection or housing protection based on sexual orientation. Griffin encouraged the crowd to shout loudly enough to allow Griffin to hear them. Jody Owen, Southern Poverty Law Center, focused on a long-term strategy. He handed out flyers containing the contact information for his organization to the crowd. Owen stated, “We promised you that if he signed the bill, we’re going to take this fight all the way to courthouse,” Owen added._x000D