Louisiana could benefit from Mississippi's religious freedom act

Louisiana could benefit from Mississippi's religious freedom act

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The law may only affect Mississippians, but the impact of the state's Religious Liberty Accommodations Act is far-reaching and leaves the door open for Louisiana to benefit, some say.

"It can only mean good things [for Louisiana]," Fox 8 political analyst Mike Sherman said. "What states have experienced that have passed measures like this is a loss of business from corporate America."

On Tuesday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill into law making it legal to deny goods and services based on religious beliefs to anyone in the state. The controversial law not only got backlash from the public, it also received criticism from big corporations that do business in Mississippi.

"I hope at some point people will understand that there are both sides of the scales of justice, and that people of faith have the same opportunity to protected from the state's interference," Bryant said.

Several corporations came out against the bill, claiming it was Mississippi's attempt to discriminate on the LGBT community after the federally passed Marriage Equality Act. MGM Resorts, Toyota, Nissan, AT&T and the Mississippi Manufacturing Association all voiced strong opposition to the law.

"All people should be treated with dignity and respect," Mississippi Center for Public Policy President Forest Thigpen said.

Thigpen stands by the newly-adopted law and feels it allows religious groups to practice according to their own beliefs.

"This is specifically tailored to people who have deeply held religious beliefs about marriage itself," Thigpen said. "It is not broadly applied. This is almost exclusively aimed at wedding-related events."

While corporations did not sway Mississippi, the same thing happened last week in Georgia when Disney, Apple and Time Warner teamed up against a similar bill there.

The NFL also came out, saying if the bill passed, it could jeopardize Atlanta's bid for a Super Bowl. In the end, Georgia's governor, Nathan Deal, vetoed the bill.

"In the state of Mississippi, I think we are going to find out if the powers of corporate America can overpower social conservatives," Sherman said. "If not, we could be looking at a boom for business here in Louisiana from those lost opportunities in Mississippi."

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