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Miss. Governor Signs Religious Freedom Bill

04-06-2016
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Mississippi's Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a new religious freedom bill which the state legislature approved last week.

The new law states people can not be punished for a belief that gender is set at birth. It says schools or businesses can set gender-specific rules about how a person dresses or which bathroom a person must use, similar to a recent North Carolina bill.

Mississippi is one of 10 states to pass or consider passing legislature to protect religious freedom after the Supreme Court ruled last summer to legalize gay marriage.

Some corporations including Nissan, MGM Resorts and Huntington Ingalls Industries (a shipyard company) opposed the bill.

Democratic Rep. Christopher Bell of Jackson came out against the bill calling it "an open container for discrimination across the board."

Supporters of the bill say that it protects people's religious freedom, allowing them to refrain from participating in gay wedding ceremonies.

Gov. Bryant has supported marriage between a man and a woman in the past.

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