A spokesman for the American Family Association says the legislation passed by Mississippi's governor Tuesday came after homosexual activists picked a fight with Christian business owners in other states.
"This freedom of conscience bill," says AFA spokesman Buddy Smith, "is really important for those who are still very interested in living in a land free to exercise their conscience, especially when it comes to matters of faith."
Smith, the AFA vice president, was responding after Republican Gov. Phil Bryant withstood pressure from homosexual activists and business groups and signed the "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act."
AFA is headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi, where it has documented the ongoing targeting of business owners including florists, bakers and photographers, whose traditional views conflict with the far-left views of homosexual activists and their organizations.
The activists have used "non-discrimination" laws, either at the state or local level, to sue business owners when they refuse an order for a floral arrangment or wedding cake that would mean associating with a homosexual "wedding" ceremony.
Beyond wedding-related businesses, others who have been the target of homosexual activists range from a fired City of Atlanta fire chief to a U.S. Navy chaplain, and a t-shirt printer to a Kentucky county clerk.
With those incidents as a back drop, Mississippi's new law states the state cannot force Christian-operated businesses and government workers to violate their deeply held religious beliefs by participating in same-sex ceremonies.
The ACLU and homosexual activists pushed hard to kill the bill in the legislature, pressuring some businesses into opposing it. That tactic --- describing the legislation as "discrimination" and shaming state officials --- worked last year in Indiana and is working in other states now.
In fact, a spokesman for the ACLU said after the bill's signing that the far-left group had hoped the "business community" would help kill the bill.
Other comments printed by Jackson newspaper The Clarion-Ledger ranged from the ACLU claiming homosexuals would be denied housing to the Southern Poverty Law Center comparing Bryant's decision to Jim Crow laws.
The daily newspaper printed only two organizations praising Bryant while seven other organizations denounced him.
But the Mississippi governor apparently withstood the pressure after the Mississippi House passed the bill that was authored by House Speaker Phillip Gunn.
After the bill signing, Bryant told a Mississippi radio network that the "scales of justice" balance equally to represent people who hold religious beliefs about homosexual marriage.
Gunn, a Republican, praised Bryant for the "courage and foresight" to sign the bill.
American Family Association is the parent organization of American Family News, which includes news website OneNewsNow.