Group for LGBT equality laws in 3 Southern states

Gay rights advocate Vin Testa waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court at sun up in Washington, Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Justices are expected to hand down major rulings on two gay marriage cases that could impact same-sex couples across the country. One is a challenge to California's voter-enacted ban on same-sex marriage. The other is a challenge to a provision of federal law that prevents legally married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and pension benefits.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Gay rights advocate Vin Testa waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court at sun up in Washington, Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Justices are expected to hand down major rulings on two gay marriage cases that could impact same-sex couples across the country. One is a challenge to California's voter-enacted ban on same-sex marriage. The other is a challenge to a provision of federal law that prevents legally married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and pension benefits. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A national group plans to seek anti-discrimination state laws to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin says Tuesday that the Washington-based group is spending $8.5 million for its “Project One America” in the three southern states.

The three states do not have laws to protect people from being fired from a job or evicted from housing because of sexual orientation.

Griffin, an Arkansas native, says the group hopes to start conversations in families, churches and other places to show a need for equal protection.

Griffin was joined at a Mississippi Capitol news conference Tuesday by three Democratic lawmakers, a Baptist minister and others, including a lesbian couple from Jackson who traveled to Maine last year to get married.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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