Mississippi Residents And Lawmakers At Odds With New Law

By: AP Email
By: AP Email
In conservative Mississippi, some business owners who support equal treatment for gays and lesbians are pushing back against a new law that bans government from limiting the free practice of religion.

Eddie Outlaw, a Jackson hair salon owner, displays the stickers he and some other business owners display and have distributed to others in a show of support for gay and lesbian customers, Tuesday, April 22, 2014, outside his business in Jackson, Miss. The group sees this as an effort to push back against a religious-practices bill recently signed by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant. The round, blue window stickers declare: �We don�t discriminate. If you�re buying, we�re selling." (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- In conservative Mississippi, some business owners who support equal treatment for gays and lesbians are pushing back against a new law that bans government from limiting the free practice of religion.

Critics fear the vaguely written law, which takes effect July 1, will prompt authorities to look away from anti-gay actions that are carried out in the name of religious beliefs - for example, photographers refusing to take pictures for same-sex couples because they believe homosexuality is a sin.

Hundreds of businesses, from hair salons to bakeries and art galleries, have started displaying round blue window stickers that declare: "We don't discriminate. If you're buying, we're selling."

The sticker campaign started this month in response to Republican Gov. Phil Bryant's signing the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The law says government cannot put a substantial burden on religious practices, without a compelling reason.


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