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BRANDON, Miss. (AP) — Mary Jane Kennedy considers herself a conservative Christian Republican, and she’s led Bible studies in her native Mississippi for decades. She’s also the mother of two gay sons and one of the faces in a new advertising campaign aimed at softening religious opposition in the Deep South to equal rights for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The Washington-based Human Rights Campaign is taking on the region’s longstanding church-based opposition to homosexuality in a series of groundbreaking television commercials, direct-mail messages and phone-bank operations designed to promote equality and legal protections for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.

TV commercials will begin airing Monday in Jackson, the state’s largest city and prime media market, with Kennedy featured as a mom who struggled to understand her own sons’ sexuality and believes God loves them, just like everyone else. The commercials also will be available online, as will banner ads on websites

Human Rights Campaign

www.hrc.org