Group not feeling the love of the Hospitality State - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Group not feeling the love of the Hospitality State

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Some folks don't think Mississippi is living up to it's Hospitality State title, so they're fighting for equality. Members of the LGBT community are hoping small steps will lead to big change.

"We don't want special rights," said The Dandelion Project President Brandiilyne Dear. "Just equal rights."

With signs, flags and shirts, a large group proudly showed up in the capital city to support equality.

"There's power in numbers and there's even more power in unity,"explained Dear. "And we all come together for one purpose and one mind people notice and things change."

A song with lyrics of "love won't be denied" rang out as everyone marched the block from Smith Park to the Capitol. Some of them were hand in hand with their partners.

"I'm more than just my sexuality," asserted protestor Nykolas Alford. "I am a human being and I love someone of the same sex. And I don't see that as being a problem."

Still, many of these ralliers say when their sexuality is revealed, the rest of their identity is overshadowed by stereotypes.

"You can get fired for being gay," said rally organizer Jeff White with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Lesbian and Gay Community Center. "It has happened to numerous people across the state. they lose their job just because they are gay.we can't adopt. There's no bullying laws protecting the students."

While marriage isn't the only right the group wants, it is on their list. Inside the Capitol, lawmakers point to 2004 vote when Mississippians approved a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriages.

"I certainly don't believe we need to change that or go against the will of the people of the state," said Representative Andy Gipson-R.

Yet others believe the past decade has brought about a shift in attitudes.

"I think what we're looking at finally is a heart change as well as a head change," said Rep. Steve Holland-D. "And we're looking at each other as human beings, as children of god with different kinds of ways of looking at life."

Organizers first decided to hold the rally after the controversial religious freedom bill was brought up at the Capitol. They fear that it would open the door to more discrimination in the state.

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