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Petition asks for Natchez to leave Mississippi for Louisiana

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NATCHEZ, Miss. - An online petition calls for the city of Natchez to secede from Mississippi and join Louisiana after a controversial law allows religious groups and some private employers to refuse service to gay couples based on religious beliefs was approved by the Mississippi legislature and signed into law.

The petition has gained steam online where more than 600 people have signed off on the tongue-in-cheek idea to leave Mississippi. The idea for the petition found on change.org got started when Casey Hughes read an editorial in the Natchez Democrat, the local newspaper.

"It was just a hilarious letter, and it really hit right," said Hughes. "I said oh let's put it out here and see what happens."

Some believe the new law creates an avenue for discrimination against people in the LGBT community. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed the religious freedom bill into law Tuesday.

"I'm very upset at the fact that the legislation passed, but this is just a so much better way to protest than with a sign and walking in front the governor's mansion, which did no good because we found out that he signed it this morning," Hughes said.

In an unrelated move, the Adams County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to remove the Mississippi state flag from all of its government buildings because the flag features a Confederate battle emblem.  Flags were taken down Tuesday.

"I think the whole point that people are trying to make is that Natchez is trying to separate itself from more negative stereotypes that Mississippi might be associated with," said Natchez resident Robin Rutherford. "You know they're trying to say we are culturally progressive. We're a very diverse community, so I think that's a good thing."

Hughes admitted that Natchez will likely never secede from Mississippi, but she hopes the petition will help to comfort people who live or visit the city.

"Whatever color of your skin, your sexual orientation or your ethnicity...anything, we welcome you here," said Hughes.

You can read the full petition here.


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