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NY’s Mississippi Picnic in The Park cancelled over anti-gay law

new york releaseMississippi Picnic in New York’s Central Park, a major showcase for the state, won’t be held this year, say organizers, attributing the cancellation to the state’s “unfortunate adoption” of a religion-focused law allowing discrimination against gay people and others.

This would have been the 37th year for the picnic sponsored by the New York-Mississippi Society. The event held each June in the past has drawn thousands of visitors to sample food and entertainment from the Magnolia State.

New York-Mississippi Society said it is standing up for “all Mississippians’” by calling off the picnic, which typically is attended by the state’s governor and other officials.

The Society had received a permit for the June 12 event but fear of protests led to its cancellation. “As a result of the unfortunate adoption of House Bill 1523, we have been informed that several concerned groups in New York City intend to demonstrate in protest of the passage of this law,” the New York-Mississippi Society said in a press statement.

“Due to the controversy, the protests and for our intensely felt dismay felt dismay over HB 1523, we deeply regret that the Mississippi Picnic cannot go forward.”

Gov. Phil Bryant voiced disappointment in the cancellation Tuesday afternoon. The Mississippi Development Authority, which uses the event as a major business recruiting venue, said it, too, is disappointed. But the agency said it also is unhappy that the organizers did not consult with it ahead of calling off the picnic.

“We are disappointed in not only their decision, but also their lack of discussion with Mississippi partners before cancelling the event,” MDA spokesman Jeff Rent said.

More than 5,000 individuals and groups had been invited to attend this year’s gathering, according to the New York-Mississippi Society.

The Society noted since inception of the Central Park picnic in 1980 it has sought to present a positive image of Mississippi without regard to race, religion or gender orientation. HB 1523, signed by Gov. Bryant on April 5, makes it difficult to share pride in Mississippi’s heritage and diversity, the Society said.

“Any law such as HB 1523 that discriminates against even a single member of our community cannot be tolerated, and therefore we have decided to stand up for all Mississippians by cancelling the 2016 picnic in the park.”

The press statement carried the signatures of Society founders Ron Carter, Vicki Carter, Rachel McPherson and Diane Wiltshire.





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  1. MS has largely dodged the larger economic pushback because so many companies don’t even have us on the list for consideration. This moves us further down the pile. Few legislatures have worked so hard for so long to block business building structural growth in this state and this is just a cherry on top. The fact that we use self strangling tax and ‘protection’ policies to lure businesses as opposed to providing sound educational and structural base from which companies can work and recruit is a multi-generational problem. One has to wonder what a state could do to further dampen comparative economic growth. This is a problem we all live with, some create, and others abide.

  2. I got no brains what does it matter in Benghazi they’re dead I’m not a racist I sent my child Chelsea to a special school not a public one while I was in the White House because she’s special and no other kid is

  3. The backlash of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) tends to stem from an intolerance of any viewpoint that does not 100% accept the LGBT movement, lock, stock and barrel! In Mississippi, there are many individuals that still profess to be Christian and their faith (guided by the Bible) is very important to them. The Bible clearly teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that sex outside that relationship is wrong and even harmful. So true Christians are now painted in a corner; trying to be accepting and gentile, but know deep down in their hearts that much of the LGBT sexual behavior is just plain biblically incorrect. This is a tough dilemma for many Mississippians. Is there any middle ground? Maybe the MS Business Journal could focus on that conflict instead of reporting on seemingly every company or high profile personality that now”hates” Mississippi.

  4. Does the bible in Mississippi not tell you to Love thy Neighbour ?

  5. Separation of church and state bud. Your religious beliefs do not supercede the individual rights of others. This bill, for all intents and purposes, is unconstitutional as it tries to force religious doctrine onto those who do not share in those beliefs.

  6. The bible is full of rules from which “Christians” pick and choose. If you are going to follow the Old Testment then follow all the rules. According to the bible marriage comes in many sizes and shapes, owning slaves is okay, eating shellfish is wrong, and on and on. No one follows these rules. Follow what Jesus teaches. Then and only the can you call yourself a Christian. If you know your early Christian history you would know the early church held special ceremonies for same sex couples. We puritanistic American Christians have created a society that does not tolerate or accept anything contrary to our beliefs. And when questioned or challenged yell “discrimination!” No one is disciminating against Christians, we are simply taking a stand against their discriminatory practices.

  7. Absolutely untrue. It forces no religious beliefs upon anyone, it merely protects those who practice their religious beliefs from lawsuits. Religious beliefs may not supercede individual rights, however the freedom of religion is a fundamental right held by every American. To force an individual by law to operate their private business in a manner that contradicts their own religious beliefs is in itself unconstitutional.

  8. Private business… privately owned business that serves the public shouldn’t have the right to decide what part of the public it wishes to serve.

  9. “…considering how Christians and conservatives are constantly lectured for their alleged lack of “compassion” and “tolerance” and so on, I think it must be noted that these laws would not be needed if compassion and tolerance, along with humility and prudence, were traits commonly found in the “LGBT community.” It is the seemingly total lack of kindness, magnanimity, and rationality displayed by many in their camp that necessitates this sort of legislation. If gays would simply respect the beliefs of Christian business owners, and if “transgenders” would simply respect the privacy of women and children, there would be no need for laws forcing the matter. But here we are. And it’s not the fault of Christians and conservatives that we arrived here. On the contrary, it’s the fault of the very people now whining about being persecuted.” MILO YIANNOPOULOS

  10. Well if you weren’t a virgin at marriage and eat eat shell fish(which is mentioned 3 times as opposed to gays, which by the way is only mentioned once) then you to are breaking biblical law. So how about shelving your inner bigot for awhile and head to the shrimp basket to put the final nail in your hypocritical coffin.

  11. What did he expect?????? He has made the most disliked state in the US the most hated.

  12. Mississippi in the Park? Never heard of it. Must not’ve been much.

  13. I don’t fully understand this law that has just been passed. If I did, I could probably make an informed statement about it. I am sure that lots of the people that are making statements about it don’t understand it either. If I were in business again I would want anybody’s Money regardless of race, gender, skin color, religion, sexual preference or political party or anything else. Now, I do know some specific people that I would not do business with for any price but not because of any of the above mentioned characteristics. There are some customers that I have seen that could not be pleased regardless of how much you tried. When I would see you one of those coming I would just close the door and lock it Bacone know in the long run they are just too much sugar for a dime. Oh well, it looks as though my home state will climb a tree to cause confusion when they could stay on the ground and have no problem. But, what hell do I know? I’m just a poor old retired Road Man!

  14. Anti-Discrimination

    Hey buddy, were you around in Mississippi before the 60s? When it was legal to deny service to people of color? According to your logic, you could go right back to them good ole’ days by claiming that serving people of the “lesser races” is against your god’s teachings. Would you prefer that?

    Oh, you say the BIBLE tells you to discriminate against gays? Well then it also teaches you to discriminate against adulterers, tattooed people, pork eaters, anyone who masturbates, and “those wearing braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments.” But then, you wouldn’t have any business at all. So, I guess you just pick and choose those whose lifestyle makes you uncomfortable.

  15. Anti-Discrimination

    Funny how we don’t see people claiming religious freedom to discriminate against those who have “sex outside that relationship” which is, say, 75% of the people of Mississippi, and 99% of the rest of the modern world. No, it’s just that you’re afraid of gay sex and gay people and want a legal reason to discriminate against them.

  16. Anti-Discrimination

    Oh, it’s LOTS of fun, especially for those of us transplanted up here for work/marriage/etc. I only eat as well when I am back home visiting family…

  17. michael gingrich

    please get a life and take a whiff of honesty and reality. The Mississippi bill is meant to harm and CONTROL others who do not agree with the CHRISTIAN legislators… God forbid someone is questioning what Christianity they’re practicing… God is MY FRIEND AND no one else is correct :/

  18. Can you please show me the verse that clearly states that marriage is between a man and a woman ? Can you also tell me how a free country can only support the Christian faith? I

  19. Cynthia Thornton

    Loving you neighbor means showing them the Word of God and asking them to repent of sin and be baptized for the remission of sins. Letting someone continue in sin while you socialize with them would be hating them. Read the Bible before you use it to justify your argument.

  20. Some flamboyant gays need to hit every bakery around ordering a wedding cake until they find that one and let’s test this damn bigot law!

  21. Lot of people quoting the Bible, funny how they pick and choose their versus. Here are some questions that need answers, namely, why can’t I own a Canadian?

    So…. homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstances as preached by many, including a certain Dr Laura from a well known US radio talk show. The following was an open letter to that doctor!

    Dear Dr. Laura

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

    1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

    2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

    4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

    6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

    7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

    8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

    9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.

    Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

    Your adoring fan,

    James M. Kauffman,

    Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,

    Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia

    P.S. (It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian.)

  22. True we do love thy neighbors, but we are also following Jesus. He never left anybody in their sin, He healed and delivered them. He did not just teach on love He taught to pray for sinners, heal their souls.

  23. That is the very reason this law was passed… To prevent that very thing from happening. Thank you for explaining it so eloquently.

  24. Christians and conservatives aren’t lectured. Jerks who want to use their religion to discriminate against a specific set of sinners are frequently lectured though. As they should be.

  25. true christians do what it says in the bible, to show tolerence towards others and not judging them, please don’t use my god to spread your hatred. go read the bible and follow the words spoken by Jesus.

  26. christian bussinesses should be tolent of others and not force them to follow their beliefs. as a christian i can tell you that thinking otherwise would mean that they are not a christian bussiness.

  27. one problem with the biblev quotes is that they are not backed up by the new testiment.

  28. a verse to back this claim up is acts chapter 10

  29. as a christian i am curious, from where in the teachings of Jesus that you have come to your conculsion? because i do not now of any and i speak for a large nuber of christians in thinking that you are just trying to damage both the LGBT community and the christian community that should be happly interacting with each other.

  30. Where does your morality come from? For me it is the Bible. If not the Bible then I assume its evolution..Maybe survival of the fittest? I certainly wouldn’t want to own you. In survival of the fittest I don’t believe you would do too well. An educated fool you are Sir.
    With all respect I urge you to read the New Testament with the intention of understanding it.
    One more point, what would you do if i came into your space with Confederate flags sewed onto my leather jacket? What if I were a skinhead? What if I were carrying a Bible? Be honest, would you be tolerant? What if i had a Swastika tattooed on my head? Do I not have a perfect right to do this? Would you bake a Nazi cake for me? Assuming you can bake.
    Have a good day sir and try for once to be fair in your thinking.

  31. I am curious as to where you get your information on the early church holding special ceremonies for same sex couples.

  32. I agree! Well stated!

  33. It’s too bad that Mississippians won’t rise up and march and demand that their legislature repeal this discriminatory law. I know that many in MS do not agree with the law, but they don’t care enough to stand up and fight, so they just shrug. Stand up and fight if you care about the future of your state. It’s reputation was already not so good, and now everyone in the country thinks you are a whole state of bigots.

  34. That’s an age-old tired answer. Please read ancient history. Man came up with the idea of a “Bible” in the first place. It was not by any command of God. Think about it. Reason it out, logically.

  35. Was that happening in Mississippi, though? No, it was not. There were literally no complaints at all. But, if it did happen, it would be the same as Rosa Parks — to make a point. She was an activist. Her sit-in was planned — same as the sit-ins at the lunch counters in the 60’s. If you are tired of seeing this or hearing about it, ro seeing gay flags, then the best way for all that to cease is to simply give them equal rights. Then it won’t be an issue any more.

  36. If you have high moral standards, they may have come from reading the “nice” parts of the Bible, and that’s fine. But, empathy actually is part of a developmental phase that toddlers go through. Most of us develop it. A few don’t. Those who don’t usually end up in prison or worse.

  37. I think you’re on the wrong page. Or in the wrong decade. Or both.

  38. A large number of Mississippians are “Biblically incorrect” by being overweight — gluttony, you know. Yet, you are not passing laws saying you don’t have to serve them in restaurants. Cherry-picking. Some old people in MS are still against interracial marriage and still favor segregation in schools, restaurants and movie theaters, and you can bet they will cite the Bible to explain why. Stop it. Be on the right side of history, for once. Be someone your grandchildren can be proud of.

  39. No, it doesn’t. That is your mythology, which is fine up to the point that it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. The fact that you believe it doesn’t make it true, btw. Do you sit up at night worried that Islam and the Quran might be right and that the Quran might be the word of God? I don’t either, because I know it is not true; and in the same way, I do not worry at all that the “Bible” is the “word of God” because I know that doesn’t make sense. It has some good things in it and some bad things in it just like any other literature. Think.

  40. Pray all you like, but do not pass laws that infringe on the rights of others. I, too, was raised Southern Baptist. Then one day, I decided to think. I finally admitted to myself that NONE of it makes any sense. That is not to say that there are not some good things about it — community, people that help others in time of need, etc. But that doesn’t make the beliefs true. Think. When it hurts others, it’s time to question.

  41. Yes, exactly. Thank you for a reasonable post. People are so indoctrinated and have no idea that they are indoctrinated. (I guess if they did, they would not be indoctrinated.)

  42. LOL. Love it. “Head on over to the Shrimp Basket.”

  43. You don’t know that. Judging all gay people by the outspoken most flamboyant of them all would be like judging all heterosexual people by some of the crazy people you see at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Gay people are your neighbors, your cousins, your friends’ sons, etc. Some of them don’t like the flamboyant militant type gay people any more than you do. Most gay people would not be recognized as gay if they didn’t tell you they were gay.

  44. I have no problem with equal rights. My problem is with business owners being forced to participate in celebration of a lifestyle with which they do not agree. Hve you actually read the bill, by the way?

  45. Anti-Discrimination

    What if business owners do not agree with the celebration of the “colored” way of life? Can they still refuse to participate?

  46. God ask of us to be like the love of his son, his son did not say…. “hmm…. which one of y’all ima die for on this cross”…. when we turn somebody away, that’s SELF WORSHIP! You are trying to do God’s work… you are trying to place yourself in God’s position to judge and discrimination. We don’t even have the mental capacity to understood who is it we should turn away. If this was okay, we wouldn’t be in struggle relationships, we wouldn’t be letting molesters around our children, and we’d have the mind to know everything about someone, BUT WE DON’T! So that’s why it’s wrong. How many registered sex offenders do they turn away, they can’t turn to many of em away because a lot of them look like great fathers, who teach a soccer team, who’s the head of the church and looks the part of a “wholesome man”.

  47. But you don’t. You don’t preach the word until it’s something about homosexuality. That’s the problem. And don’t say “I do” when you, God, and I both know you don’t!

  48. I believe that Jesus came to Earth to demonstrate what God intends for us. Humanity was on the wrong track. The Philistians were scholarly and highly ranked in society, the Old Testament rules were the rules they followed. The Romans were worshipping man as God, so Jesus came to show us, demonstrate to us, how God intends for us to live. How many times, and in how many ways, did Jesus say “Love one another”? I believe in inclusion, not exclusion. Jesus moved among lepers, prostitutes, social outcasts. Maybe in God’s eyes, sin is sin. None worse than another.

  49. So it is evolution. Survival of the fittest. Look at history. How well has it worked out. I believe that under evolution a good case could be made for certain races, nationalities or even religions to be very inferior. Homosexuals, without a member of the opposite sex cant even reproduce. In evolution that’s a dead end.
    Most Christians would never say anything except its being forced on us. Plenty of places would gladly cater to homosexuals. Money overcomes all objections. But they (homosexuals) want to push a small number of businesses. Do as I do when I am not treated properly, just don’t go back. They probably wont be there very long.

  50. The same law that Mississippi just passed is already on the books in New York. It’s written in with the bill legalizing same sex marriage.

  51. “That’s an age-old tired answer. Please read ancient history. Man came up with the idea of a “Bible” in the first place. It was not by any command of God. Think about it. Reason it out, logically.”
    it’s an age old answer because it’s true, as through the action of sacrificing Jesus, the old covenent was broken along with it’s rules, so if the old testament is to be used to argue a point it must be reinforced by the new testament (as that is where the new covenent is) as most of the old testament is there for historical context not law.
    as for ancient history both christians and non christians have got it wrong but thats a completely different topic for another day.
    if you want to bring logic into the discussion then i would say that God is logical.

  52. So love means showing somebody something they are supposedly ignorant of and asking them to do do something you think they should do. And hate is letting them continue to do something you think they shouldnt do while continuing to be around them.

    Take that out of context and you are telling the story of thousands of people who abuse their spouses of partners. Your “Bible” is a2000 year old collection of STORIES MEANT TO MANIPULATED THE GENERAL PUBLIC into doing what the CHURCH wanred them to including not resist change and give their tithes. You People need to wake up to the world that is cganging around you every day…. ITS EVOLVING., and you are not

  53. So let me believe that people have the right to be in love with whomev r they want, and let them life their lives without judgingthem, changing them or being subject to YOUR religeous beliefs.

  54. Which verse?

  55. Wow, I think the world itself is in alot of trouble, and all of the people tht are bashing God fearing people because once again the gas didn’t get something they won’t is ridiculous, it’s not okay for Christians to not want to serve gas but it’s okay for the nation to to punish MS because the gas didn’t get want they wanted? Ha okay then last time I checked it’s a free country and people are alow we’d to do and act and be who they want to be period, but I see now it’s only tht way if u follow the in crowd and do like everyone eles. Okay good to know… and Ps I am from MS I and a Christian and I don’t belive in same sex marriage. I also belive tht when my God comes back and takes his people with him, yall can have this world and it’s couruption and evil, cause just in case u don’t know…EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW AND EVERY MOUTH SHALL CONFESS THAT GOD IS KING AND THERE WILL BE ALOT OF PEOPLE WISHING THEY WOULD HAVE LISTENED TO ALL US BACK WOODS REDNECKS THAT ARE NOT WILLING TO GIVE UP ON OUR BELIEFS TO MAKE ALL THE EVILS IN THE WORLD HAPPY

  56. Our representative and the Governor just need to admit they made a mistake and start taking the concrete steps necessary to correct it. We cannot risk more manufacturing and service sector jobs over this wrongful bill. Our leadership needs to correct the mistake they have made, and do it before the Courts have to do it for us.

    Otherwise we the working men and women in Mississippi are all going to pay a terrible economic price for the selfishness and self righteous, holier than thou, in your face positions of one narrow religious viewpoint that is at odds with the rest of the civilized world. We can not be an island in Mississippi.

  57. Why should the LBGTQ community reject Christian beliefs when the LBGTQ community is so upset when Christians reject first?

    Is this “eye for an eye” approach acceptable when the LBGTQ community does it, but not when Christians do?

    The LBGTQ community insists on inclusion, yet excludes Christians holding true to their beliefs.

    Who can explain this?

  58. as a bisexual, transgender, christian, i understand what you mean and that both sides can coexsist but there are those on both sides that make it hard. although the new laws appearing in mississippi and north carolina are wrong and have no grounding in christianity.

  59. no ones forcing a bussiness owner to do anything but what they should be doing any way.

  60. the whole of acts chapter 10.

  61. yet another person who thinks they know loads about christianity (enough to argue against christianity) but doesn’t understand the basic differennce between the old and new testaments.

  62. here are some videos that i think that you need to watch.

  63. Now the City Council of Los Angeles, the nation’s second largest city, has voted 12-0 not to permit city funded travel to your state or North Carolina. It’s sad that the bigoted politically motivated actions of your hypoocritical political “leaders” are going to injure so many hard working Mississippians. Hopefully, they will learn something from this and vote in people who are living in the 21st century. Otherwise, your economy will continue to languish behind virtually every other state.


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