This evening, the Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate approved S.B. 2681, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Family Research Council (FRC) has long supported state RFRAs, which have already been enacted in 18 states since 1996 based on the federal law introduced by now U.S. Senator (then U.S. Representative) Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and former U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), passed 97-3 in the Senate, unanimously by voice vote in the House of Representatives and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
FRC President Tony Perkins released the following statement:
“This is a victory for the First Amendment and the right to live and work according to one’s conscience. This commonsense measure was a no-brainer for freedom, and like the federal RFRA, it simply bars government discrimination against religious exercise. The legislature gave strong approval to a bill that declares that individuals do not have to trade their religious freedom for entrance into public commerce.
“I commend Mississippi legislators for reading the bill and consulting the facts and not yielding to the wild distortions of the frenzied opposition of anti-religious liberty activists who caused other elected officials to retreat in recent weeks.
“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.
“The Founders never envisioned a government forcing Americans to choose between the basic teachings of their faith and losing their livelihood.
“We commend Governor Phil Bryant, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, House Speaker Philip Gunn, and Senator Phillip Gandy, the bill’s sponsor, for their leadership to defend religious freedom and for refusing to cower to egregious misrepresentations of a fair and common-sense religious liberty measure,” concluded Perkins.