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Forrest Co. NAACP pres, local pastor, support LGBT

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"You're just as likely to be gay in Meridian, as you are in Manhattan." --Chad Griffin, President of The Human Rights Campaign

Clarence Magee, President of the Forrest County NAACP, Brad Corban, Pastor of Court Street United Methodist church in Downtown Hattiesburg, and other community leaders spoke at a news conference on Tuesday to highlight equal rights.

"Together, we are stronger than if we are divided."

"I'm with justice and equality for all."

Those are just a few sentiments expressed at Tuesday's meeting.

During the news conference, this was stated by a speaker:

"They are wrongly turning our goals into a religious battle. We maintain a vigilant hope."

That quote was made by Brandiilyne Dear's partner. Dear is the founder of The Dandelion Project, a movement based in South Mississippi to promote the vision of one community for all individuals.

"I think it's in our human nature to need acceptance, and to want acceptance, and rejection is probably the ultimate pain," Dear said.

Dear came out as a lesbian when she was 37 years old.

Another speaker was Brad Corban, Pastor of Court St. United Methodist Church in Downtown Hattiesburg.

"Good news that God brings, and God's profits bring, are that God is in the business of creating communities that include people who have been historically marginalized or hurt," Corban said.

Another issue brought to the table for discussion is that Mississippi has the highest rate in the nation of gay and lesbian couples raising children, according to Chad Griffin.

He added that 25 percent of those parents report of having no legal relationship with their children.

The Human Rights Campaign recently donated $8.5 million to Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas to help bring those states to par with other states, in terms of equality for all. Those three states lack fully resourced and staffed LGBt equality campaigns.