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.