A Mississippi civil rights group is asking people to report any discrimination that results from a new religious freedom law. MPB's Ezra Wall reports.
The law known as House Bill 1523 provides government employees and others the opportunity to back out of performing services they say conflict with their religious beliefs. The services include licenses, accommodations and other services related to same-sex marriage. House Judiciary B Chairman, Republican Andy Gipson of Braxton, says the law is similar to those passed after the Roe v. Wade ruling in the 1970s.
"When abortion was determined to be a fundamental right we passed - and every other state that I know of passed - a law that says a person cannot be required to perform an abortion if it violates their moral conviction. The same principle should apply here," says Gipson.
Now, the ACLU of Mississippi is asking people to report instances of discrimination that result from HB 1523. In a social media post, the organization says HB 1523 is the most extreme anti-LGBT law in the country's history.
Representative Jay Hughes, a Democrat from Oxford, says the idea that people would be forced to deny their faith is off-base.
"241 years of law in this country and no church has ever been court-ordered or asked...to perform services for anyone who wasn't a member, or inconsistent with their beliefs," says Hughes.
Critics of the law say it also allows discrimination against sexually active people who are not married and transgender Mississippians.