The Governor of the US state of Mississippi has signed into law a bill which could allow anti-gay discrimination by religious business owners.

The US state of Mississippi on Tuesday quietly passed a bill which would legalise discrimination against gay and lesbian people based on religious belief.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, appeared last month to have been stalled, after the House sent it to a committee, rather than passing it, however the House and Senate have both approved a conference report on the bill.

The bill bans authorities from placing a “burden” on “a person’s right to the exercise of religion”, and could be used to protect business owners who discriminate against LGBT people.

Republican Governor Phil Bryant yesterday released a statement saying he was proud of the measure, and that he would sign it. He said he was pleased that the act would also add “In God We Trust” to the state seal.

Mississippi currently has no anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBT people, and the bill passed on Tuesday could allow religious business owners to turn away gay or lesbian customers, based on religious belief.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) pointed to the fact that other states had rejected similar bills.

A similar bill was vetoed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer last month.