Senators explain their religious freedom bill vote - - Jackson, MS

Senators explain their religious freedom bill vote

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Senator Hillman Frazier thinks he was put between a rock and a hard place on the now-controversial vote. He says the presentation of the religious freedom restoration act was a well-calculated move by its supporters.

"By amending the bill, it made it very difficult for some of the members," said Frazier. "Because it's very hard to go to your district and explain why you voted against God."

He was referring to the amendment that was tacked onto the Senate bill. It would add "in God we trust" to the state seal. Senator Willie Simmons also says he didn't realize the possible problems with the original bill.

"If you look at the definition of it, somewhat vague but it seemed to be harmless from the interpretation that we were given on the floor," admitted Simmons.

The bill's author, Senator Phillip Gandy stands by that interpretation.

"It is not the booger that some people are trying to make it out to be," said Gandy. "It had nothing to do with Arizona. It's just unfortunate that the Arizona law that they were trying to get passed got confused with this one."

The LGBT community thinks the bill would promote discrimination instead of protecting religious freedom.

"I don't think it would harm anyone," Gandy explained. "To read that in there, I don't see it. I really don't see it."

Gandy said he has no problem with the House amending the bill to remove any doubts about the intent. Senator Simmons is glad the house can serve as a check and balance in this case.

"We certainly do not want to roll the hands of time backwards and go back where an individual's values and or thoughts can eliminate someone from participating in an event or making money in the state of Mississippi," said Simmons. "We do not want that."

Arizona already has a religious freedom and restoration act. The bill vetoed by the Governor this week would have amended that.

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