Mississippi State University students gathered to protest Senate Bill 2681, “the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act” Tuesday morning in Jackson.
Protesters held signs voicing concerns over the language in the bill that critics say will legalize discrimination against many communities, especially LGBTQ.
MSU history graduate student, Justin Dornbusch, who is the secretary of the campus activist group LGBTQ Union, organized the protest on Facebook.
“The language in Senate Bill 2681 basically could’ve allowed discrimination against any group, and the LGBTQ community is especially vulnerable,” Dornbusch said.
The protest began at 8:30 a.m. and began to disperse around 11 a.m. At 9:40 the House Committee approved the bill after adding, “substantially burdened” to the language. The House of Representatives will vote next on the bill.
Supporters of Senate Bill 2681 argue it will ensure religious freedom protection for business to act on sincerely-held religious beliefs, but many critics of the bill, such as Justin Glover, who graduated from MSU in 2012, believe the bill is an attempt to use religion to promote discriminatory law.
“To me, as a gay Christian, one of the most important things to let people know about this law is that it’s purportedly saving religious rights — and, let’s admit, in Mississippi largely they’re talking about Christians — and encoding animus, encoding hate, enshrining it in the law is antithetical to the message of Jesus,” Glover said.