Wikimedia Commons / Chuck Kelly

'Religious Freedom' Bill Headed To Miss. Governor's Desk

After Arizona lawmakers made headlines for a bill critics called the "anti-gay" bill, a similar bill is headed to the desk of Mississippi's governor

By Jamal Andress | April 2, 2014

After Arizona lawmakers made national headlines for a bill critics called the "anti-gay" bill, a similar bill is headed to the desk of Mississippi's governor.    

Mississippi lawmakers have pushed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act through the state Senate and House, and opponents say it allow businesses to discriminate against the  LGBT community. (Via WTOK)

The bill says any state or individual action "shall not substantially burden a person's right to the exercise of religion." (Via YouTube / Jeroen Langelaar)

The legislation, which is now before Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, had much of its original language stripped and replaced with new wording to mirror the federal law that bears the same name. 

Despite the changes to the bill, the ACLU still opposes it. It said in a statement, "We are disappointed that it passed this unnecessary law and ignored the national, public outcry against laws of this nature."

But the president of the Family Research Council applauded the passing of the bill calling it a, "no-brainer for freedom."

The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law in 1993 by former President Bill Clinton. Originally intended to protect individuals' religious beliefs, recently many have interpreted the bill to empower businesses as well. (Via PBS)

According to MSNBC, the left and civil liberties groups supported the RFRA bill back in the 90's, but "Their opposition to such a law now has to do with how the courts have begun to interpret the scope of religious freedom laws, ... LGBT rights supporters don’t believe businesses that serve the general public should be able to discriminate against customers on the basis of sexual orientation."

Lawmakers in Missouri and Oklahoma both have similar bills pending in their legislature. Governor Bryant has until April 4th to sign Senate Bill 2861 into law. 

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