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LGBTs in Bay St. Louis: City Becomes the Next on the Resolution List

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Chris Davis

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss.–Mark Bay St. Louis down as city number six in Mississippi to pass a resolution recognizing the “dignity and worth of all city residents – including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)”. The city council passed the measure at Tuesday’s meeting unanimously.

That announcement came from the Human Rights Campaign, which has been pushing for the resolutions and has gotten them passed in Starkville, Hattiesburg, Greenville, Magnolia and Oxford.

The resolutions also come on the heels of Mississippi’s “Religious Freedon Act”, which several pro-gay groups have denounced as conducive to discrimination.

“Like so many cities across America, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi has made clear that all its residents deserve to be treated with dignity, respect and equality, regardless of who they are or who they love,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin in a news release. “Today the Bay St. Louis city leadership proudly affirmed the city’s support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and moved Mississippi forward on the road to equality.”

This also comes from the HRC news release:

Public opinion on equality in Mississippi is far ahead of law in the state. A poll conducted last summer found that nearly 60 percent of Mississippians under the age of 30 support marriage equality, while 64 percent of residents back workplace non-discrimination protections for LGBT employees.

The action comes less than two weeks after HRC launched Project One America, an unprecedented effort to dramatically expand LGBT equality in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama. HRC is making a deep and lasting $8.5 million investment concentrated in these three states.

The community-based program focuses on building lasting LGBT presence and infrastructure. A full time local staff and dedicated office space will support this effort. HRC is committed to Project One America and Mississippi for the long haul.

For details on Project One America in Mississippi, visit www.hrc.org/states/mississippi

Journalist Robert Ray has been in Mississippi this week covering gay rights issues, primarily the “Religious Freedom Act”. He serves as the New Orleans bureau chief for Al Jazeera America, a new TV news network.

He said on the Paul Gallo Radio Show, on SuperTalk Mississippi, he feels the gay rights issue is important in the state.

“The state of Mississippi, believe it or not, has the highest proportion of same-sex couple raising children at 26 percent. When I saw that number I was quite surprised.”

He said Democrat Sen. David Blount apologized for voting for the unanimously-passed religious freedom bill, on his Facebook page.

See this article of the Mississippi celebration in New York, where chefs are protesting the legislation, as well: http://www.newsms.fm/chefs-host-big-gay-mississippi-welcome-table-protest/

Proponents of the Act, which was passed and goes into law, have said it protects religious feedom and any wording that may have given people license to discriminate was taken out.

Still, pro-gay groups say the stigma of the new law may spark discrimination.

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