Court allows MS to enforce law allowing anti-LGBT discrimination

Court allows MS to enforce law allowing anti-LGBT discrimination

He testified in June 2016 on behalf of plaintiffs who sued to block the MS religious objections law.

House Bill 1523, signed into law by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant previous year, allows businesses, individuals, and religiously affiliated organizations to deny service to LGBT people, single mothers, and others who somehow offend an individual's "sincerely held religious belief".

The Fifth Circuit panel noted that those against the law "have not clearly shown injury-in-fact", which means they did not show how those who favor same-sex "marriage" are harmed by allowing those with contrary beliefs to live consistently with their beliefs.

Gov. Tate Reeves released a statement following the ruling.

Sommer, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said they would likely seek further judicial review, either before the full Fifth Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court.

The bill would have gone into effect July 1st of past year.

The multiple people challenging the ruling have several options, including trying to prove the law caused injury to a person or appealing the ruling.

One week after Gov. Bryant signed HB 1523 into law, then-President Barack Obama publicly urged it to be overturned. He praised the appeals court decision.




Now that HB 1523 is officially a state law, employers and government workers can cite religion as their reasoning behind not serving same-sex of LGBT couples.

"Having reviewed the relevant section of HB 1523, the parties' arguments, and the scope of the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell, the Court finds that (Section) 3 (8)(a) may in fact amend Mississippi's marriage licensing regime in such a way as to conflict with Obergefell", Reeves wrote. "Under the logic of this opinion, it would be constitutional for the state of MS to pass a law establishing Southern Baptist as the official state religion".

Under this law, nearly any individual or organization could justify discrimination not only against LGBT people, but also unwed couples, single mothers, non-Christian Mississippians and others.

In a unanimous decision issued Thursday, the panel concluded that the plaintiffs lacked the standing to sue the state over House Bill 1523, also called the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, reversing a lower court's decision.

Contrary to popular belief, most Christians oppose religious freedom laws, with a recent poll showing that less than half of evangelical Protestants believe small businesses should be able to deny services on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs.

"The sole objective of this law is to ensure that Mississippians don't live in fear of losing their careers or their businesses simply for affirming marriage as a husband-wife union", Theriot said Thursday.

MS passed the law after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide in its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling. It bars the state from taking any "discriminatory action" against those who act in accordance with three religious beliefs or moral convictions: that marriage should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, that sexual relations should be reserved for marriage, and that a person's biological sex is determined by anatomy and genetics at birth.

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