News (USA)

Coalition of Miss. businesses want LGBT customers to know they’re welcome

Equality Mississippi
Equality Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. — Following the Mississippi legislature’s recent passage of a religious freedom bill that opponents say could lead to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays, businesses statewide have responded by displaying a decal informing LGBT customers that their business is welcome.

The “If You’re Buying, We’re Selling” campaign started in the commercial district of Jackson’s Fondren neighborhood last week, and has since spread statewide, reports The Clarion-Ledger.

The campaign is built around opposition to Senate Bill 2681, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill on April 3.

Opponents of the new law, which takes effect July 1, worry it could lead to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians. Supporters insist it does not authorize businesses to deny service to customers based on religious beliefs.

But a group of entrepreneurs behind the “If You’re Buying, We’re Selling” campaign want to make clear that they’ll take money from anybody willing to spend it.

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“A lot of us were trying to counter the negative stuff from outside Mississippi,” said local business owner Eddie Outlaw, who was part of the creative team behind the campaign. “We wanted to let people know – not just the LGBT community but the progressive community as a whole – that this doesn’t represent everybody here.”

To drive that point home, participating businesses will display in their storefront windows a vinyl, sticker-like circle that reads, “We don’t discriminate. If you’re buying, we’re selling.”

Equality Mississippi says hundreds of companies across the state have already signed up to display the new stickers in their window. The program is free of charge and is open to any business who is opposed to discrimination of all kinds.

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