SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Since Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1523, the fallout has been fast. Opponents argue the bill is discrimination and it is not the direction a state should move when it is seeking to provide thriving business and economic developments. Bryant argues the bill is meant to protect religious beliefs for people of faith. Bryant said he does not think it will promote discrimination in any way.
Many mayors across Mississippi are voicing their concerns over the negative impact of the bill.
Biloxi Mayor FoFo Gilich told WLOX News Now that the bill creates a bad perception.
"We have got to do something to fix it, to fix this perception of reality that is costing us dearly," said Gilich.
"Gulfport is the same today, as it was yesterday. The character of our community is the result of the diversity of our culture, economy, natural resources and people. We invite everybody to discover the city that is 'Open for Business and Geared for a Good Time,' said Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes.
Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran voiced her concerns over tourism. She believes the bill could push away tourists, something many small businesses depend on.
"This sends the wrong message, and it sends it worldwide. I'm very disappointed that the governor signed this, especially when large corporations, like Ingalls, Nissan, Toyota and Tyson, and even the Mississippi Economic Council, came out against this," said Moran.
An effort is underway to repeal House Bill 1523. State Rep. Jay Hughes is pushing The Mississippi Economic & Tourism Recovery Act, which is a law that would ultimately repeal house bill 1523.