Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant
Mississippi Republicans have passed an anti-gay "religious freedom" law, but don't worry, they say, because it's not quite as bad as the one vetoed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer earlier this year. An earlier version of the law signed by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant this week was closer to the Arizona bill, and was shelved after opposition from business groups.
There seems to be uncertainty about what the bill, which the Associated Press describes as "vaguely worded," would actually do, but Adam Serwer reports that:
... contrary to the beliefs of the Mississippi Economic Council, religious right activists clearly envision the Mississippi law as empowering businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples in the name of religion. Shortly after the Mississippi law passed, Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Center, released a statement saying as much.
“Whether it’s someone like Pastor Telsa DeBerry who was hindered by the Holly Springs city government from building a new church in the downtown area, or a wedding vendor, whose orthodox Christian faith will not allow her to affirm same-sex ‘marriage,’ the provisions of RFRA would apply to prevent the government from discriminating against religious exercise,” Perkins said. ”The Founders never envisioned a government forcing Americans to choose between the basic teachings of their faith and losing their livelihood.”
That's just lovely. It's a law now, and religious right activists are feeling good about it, so, hey, let's take it on faith that it's not going to lead to horrible discrimination. After all, it's being enforced by the government of Mississippi, a state with no legal protections for LGBT people to begin with. Trust is definitely the watchword here.