Mississippi ‘religious freedom’ law faces business backlash

A group of Mississippi businesses has a message for the gay and lesbian community: Buy our stuff.

“I’m in a business to sell a product, and I want to sell that product to everybody, and I don’t care what you do in your life,” said Mitchell Moore, owner of Campbell’s Bakery in Jackson, Mississippi.

Two weeks ago, Mississippi became the first state to successfully pass a “religious freedom” law as part of a recent push by conservative state legislators to make it easier for businesses to refuse services to same-sex couples. The night before Mississippi Republican Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill, Moore came up with the idea for a campaign that would allow local businesses to make clear that they don’t intend to discriminate against their customers.

“The big example that all of the politicians kept giving over and over was a bakery that might have to bake a cake for a gay wedding,” says Moore. “I own a bakery, no politician called me and asked if this was something we should do.”

That idea blossomed into the “If You’re Buying, We’re Selling Campaign.” Backed by local gay and lesbian rights groups, more than 500 businesses in Mississippi have requested the blue stickers associated with the campaign, which make it clear to potential gay and lesbian customers that these businesses do not intend to refuse them services.