JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Members and supporters of the LGBT community gathered in Downtown Jackson to celebrate Mississippi’s Pride weekend.
Pride celebrations across the country were started to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots which sparked the gay rights movement.
Mississippi’s Pride weekend has been going on since 2005.
Organizers say this event also celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision that allowed same-sex marriage across the country.
It also honors the lives of those 49 people killed in Orlando at the Pulse Nightclub.
Protesters were on site and Jackson Police and Hinds County Deputies kept a close watch over them and would not allow them inside the barricades.
“This didn’t exist when I was a kid growing up in Mississippi and I can only imagine how impactful it must be for people who feel alone. For people who feel like they don’t have a community. They come here and they can see that they do have people that love and support,” said Kitt Williamson, an actor, and Mississippi native.
Also, on the minds of many at today’s event were
the hearings of two cases that wrapped up on Friday in federal court which could lead to the overturning of House Bill 1523.
It’s now in the hands of Judge Carlton Reeves to decide whether or not to block the Religious Accommodations Act from becoming law.
Robert Jones is the CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, he was brought in to show that some religions support gay marriage.
“If you only look at the issue of marriage, both African-Americans and White Evangelical Protestants oppose same-sex marriage but when you get to the question of whether a small business owner should be able to refuse products and services, there you see a very different pattern,” said Jones.
As of right now, the law will go in to effect Friday, July 1, 2016.
Unless Judge Reeves decides in favor of the plaintiffs
The state attorneys, who would not comment on camera on Friday, defend House Bill 1523, saying it simply protects government employees, business people, and others who believe marriage should be between a woman and a man.