Court: Mississippi may enforce religious objections law

Ausiliatrice Cristiano
Giugno 23, 2017

The appeals court said plaintiffs failed to prove that they would be harmed by the law, which started as House Bill 1523.

As passed, HB 1523 specifically carves out three specific religious beliefs to receive extra protection under law: opposing same-sex marriage, opposing sexual relations outside of a man-woman marriage, and opposing the legitimacy of transgender identities.

He says that within two weeks, he will either ask the entire 5th Circuit to reconsider the panel's decision or ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block the law.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decided this week that the case challenging the pro-discrimination law was not the appropriate vehicle for overturning it.

"We are disappointed that the appeals court has reversed the preliminary injunction placed on HB 1523 and dismissed the case".

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves had concluded that by endorsing and elevating one set of religious beliefs, the law conveyed the state's "disapproval and diminution" of all other religious beliefs. "This decision places the plaintiffs and thousands more LGBT Mississippians and single parents in a position where they can be harmed for living as their authentic selves".

"This decision is not only deeply upsetting for the rights of LGBT individuals living in MS, but also for the protection of religious liberty in our country", said Roberta Kaplan, lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the Campaign for Southern Equality suit, in a press release.

"We are ready to move forward with our case filed on behalf of ACLU members Nykolas Alford and Stephen Thomas, who are planning to marry in MS in the near future". His ruling prevented the law from taking effect last July.

In the meantime, because the injunction has now been lifted, HB 1523 is officially enforceable in MS, granting anti-LGBTQ and anti-sex beliefs exclusive protection under law.

While the panel did not rule on the merits of the case, Bryant, Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, and Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who presides over the Senate, hailed the ruling of the three judge panel.

The legislation legally protects anyone who refuses marriage-related services because of these beliefs.

Lawyers for Alliance Defending Freedom were part of the legal team supporting Gov. Bryant and the law.

The law also includes a portion that forces transgender people in MS to use bathrooms corresponding with the gender of their birth instead of their gender identity. "We will continue to proceed on behalf of Nykolas and Stephen to protect them, and other same-sex couples from this harmful and discriminatory law".

The law will protect businesses which claim to have "sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions" in objection to same-sex marriage.

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