Concerns about HB1523 negatively impacting Mississippi's economy are unfounded according to the governor. Some worry about the fall out.
Kathryn Ragsdale with Toyota of Mississippi, says the company supports equality for everyone. In 2016, they provided a grant to the Human Rights Campaign of Mississippi, to promote awareness about the LGBT community in Tupelo. They plan to do so again this year. But Ragsdale doesn't think HB1523 will hurt the company.
"I don't think it'll have an impact on our industry. The automotive industry is pretty strong and Toyota just stands firm on our two pillars which is respect for people and continuous improvement," said Ragsdale.
HB1523 allows government employees to recuse themselves from issuing same sex marriage licenses. But a system must be in place to provide the service. Also some businesses can deny services to the couples because of their religious beliefs. Last week a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals panel reversed a judge's decision that blocked the law. Governor Phil Bryant says the law won't harm the state's economy.
"Twenty-two million people visited the State of Mississippi last year. That's more than any other in this state's history. On December 9th of this year, we're going to be opening up the Mississippi History and Civil Rights Museum. We'll have people from all over the world coming to celebrate that," said Bryant.
Kenneth Townsend, Professor of Political Science at Millsaps College, says 60 percent of their students are from out of state. Some have expressed concerns about studying in Mississippi.
"It's complicating our efforts to attract and retain young people in our educational institutions and also compromising our ability to attract and retain business interests," said Townsend.
The Mississippi Economic Council said in a statement, the law conflicts with its policy, which promotes diversity and inclusion for customers and employees.