RELEASE: Speaker Gunn Issues Statement on Amendment to Senate Bill 2681, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act
Jackson, MS— The Mississippi House of Representatives today passed an amended version of Senate Bill 2681 in order to create a study committee to further examine the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, while preserving the “In God We Trust” language.
“It appears that Senate Bill 2681, as it passed the Senate, is fraught with problems,” said Speaker Philip Gunn. “Concerns surrounding this bill have been growing rapidly over the last two weeks. We have heard from numerous sources that it may not pass judicial scrutiny and that it may not be legally sound.
“We have had attorneys look at this bill, and they have differing views as to the legal impact of this bill,” he continued. “We have been diligently working to analyze all the concerns with this bill, but simply have not had enough time to thoroughly scrutinize all the concerns that seem to surround this bill given that we only received it a short time ago.
“The House believes the protection of religious freedom is of paramount importance, and we plan to protect it at all costs,” said Speaker Gunn. “Whatever is passed must be constitutionally sound. Because we want to protect religious freedom, we do not want to pass a law that would possibly jeopardize religious freedom or work to weaken one’s right to religious freedom. With all the questions surrounding the current bill, we do not want to pass a bill that would possibly work to hurt religious freedoms rather than protect it. For that reason, the bill we passed allows us to study the issue intently for the remainder of the session and hopefully bring forward a bill that is legally sound and strongly protects our religious freedoms.”