Anti-LGBT law goes into effect in MS

Published: Oct. 10, 2017 at 2:13 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 10, 2017 at 6:33 PM CDT
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JACKSON, MS (WMC) - Same-sex marriage advocates are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a controversial religious freedom bill that took effect in Mississippi on Tuesday.

The bill, HB 1523, allows businesses to refuse service to the LGBT community by citing their own religious beliefs.

Aaron Davis, who grew up gay in Mississippi, worries hostility toward the LGBT community will only get worse.

"I feel like I'm constantly under attack," he said. "Now that the law is behind them, they will feel more empowered to do discriminatory things."

The bill has strong support from Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who signed it into law last year. He and other supporters said the legislation is not about discrimination, but instead, about allowing Mississippians to stay true to their faith.

Governor Bryant released the following statement to WMC5:

"The people of Mississippi have the right to ensure that all of our citizens are free to peacefully live and work without fear of being punished for their sincerely held religious beliefs."

The debate over the law may not be over. Just hours after the law went into effect on Tuesday, same-sex marriage supporters asked the Supreme Court to block it.

Mississippi is home to 60,000 LGBT adults and an estimated 11,400 transgender youth and adults, according to 2016 data published by the Williams Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law.

The state is also home to 3,500 same-sex couples, 29 percent of whom are raising children—the highest rate in the nation.

As a result of the law, despite it being as new as it is, Aaron Davis already decided he will move to Florida.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.