Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi faced a backlash in April when he signed the state’s radical anti-LGBT bill into law.
Although the move thrust Mississippi into a whirlwind of controversy, the Republican has expressed no regrets about signing House Bill 1523, which provides protection for marriage equality opponents and those who believe gender is determined at birth.
Speaking in Washington, D.C., on May 26, Bryant slammed the pushback he received from the “secular, progressive world” after he signed the bill, the Associated Press reports.
Bryant was speaking at the Watchmen on the Wall conference where he received the first-ever “Samuel Adams Religious Freedom Award” from Tony Perkins, who is the president of the right-wing Family Research Council.
“I remember in Sunday school, reading one of my favorite stories. It was about a giant, a bad giant, who came into a valley one day and he called to the Israelites, ‘Send down your champion and let me vanquish him,’” Bryant said, as seen in the above video from Right Wing Watch. “We were in that valley.”
He compared much of the criticism he’d received over House Bill 1523 to the various ways that “Christians have been persecuted throughout the ages.”
“They don’t know that if it takes crucifixion, we will stand in line before abandoning our faith and our belief in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” he said. “So if we are going to stand, now is the time and this is the place.”
The state is now facing two federal lawsuits that are aiming to block House Bill 1523 from becoming law on July 1. The first was filed May 9 on behalf of Nykolas Alford and Stephen Thomas, a gay couple from Meridian, Mississippi, in an effort to declare the bill unconstitutional. Meanwhile, two lesbian couples who fought the state’s same-sex marriage ban in 2014 are hoping to re-open that lawsuit with the Campaign for Southern Equality to challenge the bill.
Sounds like Bryant may need more than a prayer if he wants his anti-LGBT beliefs to hold steadfast.