Local LGBTQ leader weighs in on Indiana religious freedom law

Local LGBTQ leader weighs in on Indiana religious freedom law

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - The religious freedom law in Indiana is stirring up controversy, but just last year Mississippi passed a similar law. Jeff White, who is a leader in the LGBTQ Community, isn't surprised at the lack of resistance toward the law from people in our state.

"Something like this is expected in Mississippi. They're not surprised. They're not surprised at all, and when it happens that's what people say, 'Oh its Mississippi, what do you expect,'" said White.

People have been up in arms about the law passing in Indiana. A couple of pizzeria owners there have been in hot water since giving an interview saying they wouldn't cater a gay couple's wedding.

"That's just not how businesses are set up. It's bad business practice to turn people away," said White.

White is happy with the way things have gone in Mississippi, but he is concerned with the way things are going for LGBTQ community members in the Hoosier state.

"When these religious beliefs begin to infringe upon just basic everyday activities of people is when it becomes a problem," said White.

He feels that Mississippi business owners didn't see the law as a ticket to use their religious beliefs to discriminate. He does however believe it could eventually go that way.

"One of my biggest fears is that as the 36th state to strike down our marriage ban. When marriage does actually become legal here, that's when I see it becoming an issue," said White.

The governor of Indiana has approved changes to the law that intend to ease concerns that it could lead to discrimination. Still, White has a message of hope to his fellow LGBTQ community members who are riding out the storm.

"I just want to tell them to just hold on. Just keep pushing through, and you know just as well as I know, that this is a fight that we are going to win," said White.

Despite last-minute lobbying from Indiana conservative groups to get the governor to veto the fix, the governor signed it Thursday evening.

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