Religious freedom bill passed in Mississippi as supporters dismiss concerns from LGBT activists
Mississippi lawmakers passed the final version of the state's religious freedom bill on Tuesday. Under the new law, state and local governments are prohibited from placing "substantial" burden on religious practices.
The bill, which has been praised by religious freedom advocates, was passed despite opposition from LGBT activists, who have argued that the law could result in discrimination against the LGBT community.
The final version of the religious freedom bill is said to resemble the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Eunice Rho of the American Civil Liberties Union spoke on the changes that have been implemented in the final version. "While this is an improvement upon the language that the legislature previously contemplated, it still falls short," she told NBC.
The ACLU has fought for changes to the bill that it says could be used to justify discrimination in the name of religion - something that the bill's supporters have dismissed.
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An earlier version of the bill that was considered a few weeks ago was similar to the one that Arizona's Republican governor Jan Brewer vetoed. In that case business groups feared the law would injure the state's economy, and that ultimately led to the bill being disregarded.
Supporters of Mississippi's new bill, Senate Bill 2681, say the final version bears little resemblance to Arizona's failed measure.
The bill was passed in the House 79-43, and in the Senate 37-14, with some opposition from a few Democrats. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, is now required to sign the bill into law.