With Governor Bryant’s signature on HB 1523, Mississippi joins other states taking steps to protect the freedom to believe in the post-­Obergefell world. It is the first state to pass comprehensive legislation aligning with the federal First Amendment Defense Act to protect private citizens from the heavy hand of government that may seek to penalize them for supporting natural marriage after last year’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges

HB 1523 is simple: it prevents the government from telling individuals and entities they are excluded from working with the government and can’t receive the same treatment everyone else receives simply because they still believe marriage is between a man and a woman. In essence, it prevents government discrimination against private citizens.

Most people get that such discrimination should not be permitted. One recent poll shows nearly two-thirds of Mississippi voters want to protect pastors, churches, schools, and businesses from government discrimination. Another poll last year found that 81 percent of Americans agree that government should “leave people free to follow their beliefs about marriage as they live their daily lives at work and in the way they run their businesses.”

Now that Mississippi has passed such needed protections, the way is open for other states and the federal government to do the same.