Governor Bryant on HB 1523
House Bill 1523 has garnered intense backlash both inside and out of the state. The latest, this year’s New York City picnic celebrating Mississippi food and culture is cancelled over the bill. This would have been the 37th year for the event. Governor Phil Bryant says the cancellation is disappointing.
Earlier, the Governor spoke out about the state’s controversial law, saying the critics are simply over reacting.
Scott Simmons reports.
Governor Phil Bryant says he won’t change his mind after signing the religious objection bill some critics call “state sanctioned discrimination.” He says he’s talked to some of those companies against the law. “They have good attorneys there who read this law and understand it is balancing the scales for people of faith, that is simply all we are trying to do is say that people of faith have some protection from an overbearing government that could determine whether or not that they continue to be in business or put them out of business,” said Governor Bryant.
The ACLU says it won’t commit to a court fight yet. Erik Fleming with the Mississippi ACLU says, “I don’t think there is any doubt about it. It’s just, we’re going to go into it, and we want to send a message that this kind of legislation shouldn’t pass any state legislature.”
While this religious objection law seems destined for a legal fight, the state’s attorney general, Democrat Jim Hood, says he’s not convinced it does violate anyone’s constitutional rights. “I got a duty to defend them even though I don’t like some laws that are passed. I have a duty to defend it and that is what we’ll do.”
Hood says churches and pastors could already refuse services before the governor signed the bill. But for businesses and government offices, he says that legal fight could be a case by case basis. Hood says he doesn’t like the law. “It’s not been good for Mississippi.”