Last updated: 04:17 PM ET, Sat April 09 2016

Religious Freedom Law Threatens Tourism in Mississippi

Impacting Travel | Amy Coyne Bredeson | April 09, 2016

Religious Freedom Law Threatens Tourism in Mississippi

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The controversial new law that protects religious freedom and discriminates against gays in Mississippi is already threatening the state’s tourism industry.

On Tuesday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryan signed the religious freedom bill, allowing religious organizations the right to: deny marriage, adoption and foster services to LGBT people; fire or refuse to hire them; and decline renting or selling property to them, CNN reported. 

Under the law, medical professionals will also be allowed to refuse to be any part of "sex reassignment or gender identity transitioning," CNN said.

"The legislation is designed in the most targeted manner possible to prevent government interference in the lives of the people," Bryant told CNN, adding that the law protects sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions.

READ MORE: Mississippi Faces Tourism Backlash for Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

Mississippi is now being mocked all over the Internet. Several states have banned employees from traveling to Mississippi.

And the Mississippi Tourism Association said Thursday that people are calling, emailing and posting on social media that they are changing or canceling their plans to visit the state.

The association posted the following on its Facebook page Thursday: “As the industry on the front line, cheerfully welcoming visitors to our home, we are re-doubling our efforts to demonstrate that Mississippi is indeed, the Hospitality State.” 

READ MORE: Survey: Most LGBT Travelers Won’t Visit Places Where Homosexuality is Illegal

On Thursday, the Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association introduced a new campaign called "Everyone's Welcome Here," CNN reported.

The association’s executive director, Mike Cashion, told CNN that the idea behind the campaign is to design and print decals that businesses can place on their doors to spread the "Everyone's Welcome Here” message. The organization will also share the message on social media.

"Our industry serves a diverse customer base, and we want to make sure all customers are appreciated and welcomed,” Cashion told CNN. “We have a very clear and strong message to convey. Mississippi's restaurant industry is open for everyone's business.


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