Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association speaks against - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association speaks against Religious Accommodation Act

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

More backlash tonight from governor's recently signed HB 1523 that allows religious organizations and private business to refuse services if it violates their religious beliefs.  Members of the Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association have launched a new campaign the spread of message of love and southern hospitality.

“In our industry, we welcome everyone, we want everyone to come in regardless of race, color, gender,”  said business owner Preston Grace.

Preston Grace is the general manager of 303 Jefferson Restaurant in Clinton and he doesn't agree with the new Religious Accommodation Act recently signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant.  The bill would allow businesses like his to deny service due their religious beliefs to people for example from the LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community with weddings and religious services' requests.

“I wouldn't understand why anyone would want to turn anybody away. We are not going to do it. That's who we are,”  said Grace.

A few miles away at Froghead Grill, the line was out the door with hungry customers and the managers want it to stay that way.  They admit the religious bill could hurt the state's economy and keep people from traveling to the town.

“Our staff is very eclectic and  we come from all kinds of different backgrounds. We  want to share that with everyone else out there and show that everyone is welcome,” said Manager Jordan White.

Both restaurants in Clinton are part of the Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association that has jump started a new campaign that speaks out against the bill called, “"EVERYONE’S WELCOME HERE."

“We are printing door decals and we are also modifying out website to create a directory, so those folks who are looking for those businesses participating in the program can find them on our website,” said Executive Director Mike Cashion.

Several members of the association along with the executive director hope that more businesses would also sign up to promote Mississippi as a hospitality state not a hate state.

“People need to know that is not who we are and not what we are.  Not just the hospitality industry, but the people in Mississippi are very compassionate and loving people,” said Cashion.

The Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association is a non-profit association composed of over 1400 food service operators, lodging properties, casinos, suppliers, manufacturers, and other professionals. If you would like to participate in the program or would like more information contact the MHRA office at (601) 608-0221 or by email at info@msra.org.

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