Some gulf coast businesses and officials are worried about the effect of Mississippi's new religious freedom law on one of the area's main economic drivers: tourism. MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports.
The new law prompted a wave of national reaction. A number of states and cities banned non-essential travel to Mississippi. Musician Bryan Adams canceled an appearance in Biloxi.
Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran says it will affect businesses large and small, including the owners of a vacation rental in her city:
"One of their guests who have been coming from out of state for several years now, said unfortunately, due to this bill, they will not be able to visit Mississippi any time in the future," she says.
Mayor Moran, who is a Democrat, says she hasn’t had any businesses complain to her about being forced to participate in same-sex weddings.
"We have no anti-discrimination bill in place in Mississippi, as does Oregon, for example," she says, "so the chances of any business being sued for refusing service to anyone for anyone reason is really very slim. So I think the bill is completely unnecessary, and all it does is drive a wedge once again between MIssissippi and the rest of the world."
Republican Governor Phil Bryant and other proponents of the law argue it’s needed to protect people of faith.
"What we are doing here is, because of the Supreme Court's decision about marriage, we are - as are 10 other states are doing - trying to decide where someone's faith can be protected, as it is in First Amendment to the United States Constitution," he says.
Some Mississippi legislators who are against the law are expected to announce today plans to try to repeal it.
A sign created by Bay St. Louis business owner Ann Madden in response to the bill.