BILOXI -- Pop singer Belinda Carlisle held an anti-HB 1523 press conference Saturday afternoon at the IP Casino Resort before her scheduled performance.
But Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran stole the show, condemning the new law as "hateful" and "un-Christian."
Moran joined Carlisle on stage along with ministers and members of the LBGT community.
"We want Gov. Phil Bryant and members of the legislature to know that not everyone is happy about this bill," Moran said. "I am personally very distressed."
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She said she thinks the law, which allows private businesses and public officials to refuse to serve people if providing those services violates "deeply held religious beliefs," was passed without any input from state residents, including the mayors of South Mississippi.
"I met with (Bryant's wife Deborah) Bryant and implored her to tell the governor to not sign the bill," she said. "You can see how much pull I have with Phil Bryant.
This is embarrassing, it's humiliating and it keeps Mississippi spiraling downward."
Moran, a Catholic, said the law goes against her Christian faith.
"It is not about love and it is not about Jesus," she said. "This is 'hate bill 1523,' the bigot bill."
Carlisle, who has a gay son, said she held the press conference instead of cancelling her appearance on the Coast in order to take a public stand against the law.
"As a proud mother of a gay son, I can't imagine anything less Christian than using the law as a weapon against others," she said. "My hope is that all of us will do everything in our power to fight these laws and to fight for justice for all. No exceptions."
She said she plans to keep fighting to get the law repealed.
"I would like to come back," she said. "This pisses me of."