Democratic members of the state House and Senate want to repeal the religious freedom law recently signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant. Credit: Mississippi Today

An Oxford lawmaker plans to introduce a resolution to repeal the religious freedom law signed by Gov. Phil Bryant last week.

Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Oxford, drafted the resolution titled the Mississippi Economic & Tourism Recovery Act.

Bryant signed the bill that he and other Republican leaders said protects people against punishment for exercising religious beliefs. It allows circuit court clerks and business owners to refuse service to same-sex married couples based on religious convictions.

In response, several state and municipal leaders across the nation have banned government-funded travel to Mississippi and some artists have canceled plans to perform here.

“Our public schools are on life support. Access to health care is on life support. Our roads and bridges are crumbling,” Hughes said, calling the passage of the religious-freedom law an example of misplaced priorities.

However, the effort to pass the resolution faces long odds given the overwhelming vote in favor of the law when it passed the Legislature.

Asked about possible negative perceptions of Mississippi from the new law, Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon and chairman of the House Judiciary A Committee, said he isn’t worried.

“You hear the good and the bad all the time. I don’t have any concerns about it,” Baker said.

No action took place on Hughes’ resolution before the House adjourned on Tuesday.


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Ryan L. Nave, a native of University City, Mo., served as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief from May 2018 until April 2020. Ryan began his career with Mississippi Today February 2016 as an original member of the editorial team. He became news editor August 2016. Ryan has a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked for Illinois Times and served as news editor for the Jackson Free Press.