People gathered in Hattiesburg at Joshua Generation Metropolitan Community Church on Sunday to protest against Mississippi's Religious Freedom Law.
“We need to stand up and unite together against the bill. It’s not about religion; it’s about people,” said Pastor Brandiilyne Mangum-Dear.
The protesters said the law allows businesses to discriminate against them by refusing LGBT people services or jobs.
“Businesses already do have the right to refuse services to people for different things and this law is not necessary. What it is, is a message. It’s a message that is hateful,” said the Rev. Nancy Wilson.
Wilson is a global moderator with the Metropolitan Community Church, an inclusive church that reaches out to people in the LGBT community. Several other pastors from around the country attended the protest and voiced their concerns.
“People of good faith know that this is wrong, and we know love always wins,” said the Rev. Leisa Heilig.
Sen. Chris McDaniel said he is not surprised by protests, but said most Mississippians support the bill.
“They want the state to pick sides in this cultural war. That is inappropriate under the circumstances. We can’t be in the position of forcing religious individuals with sincerely held beliefs,” said McDaniel. “We can’t force them to violate their beliefs. “
However, the protesters aren’t backing down. They plan on signing petitions and hosting more events to speak out against the law.