U.S. district judge strikes down Mississippi’s ‘religious freedom’ law

Jul 1, 2016

By Neely Tucker

U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves late Thursday night issued an injunction blocking a bill by the Mississippi legislature that would have allowed private citizens and some public officials professing a “sincere religious belief” to deny services to gays and lesbians.

Just minutes before House Bill 1523 was to take effect at midnight, Reeves eviscerated the bill — the most sweeping attempt by a state to undermine the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision to legalize same-sex marriage — as being in violation of the First and 14th amendments.

“The State has put its thumb on the scale to favor some religious beliefs over others. Showing such favor tells ‘nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and . . . adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community,’ ” Reeves wrote, citing precedent. “And the Equal Protection Clause is violated by HB 1523’s authorization of arbitrary discrimination against lesbian, gay, transgender, and unmarried persons.”

“The plaintiffs’ motions are granted and HB 1523 is preliminarily enjoined.”


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3 comments on “U.S. district judge strikes down Mississippi’s ‘religious freedom’ law

  • “The State has put its thumb on the scale to favor some religious beliefs over others. Showing such favor tells ‘nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and . . . adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community,’

    All that was needed here. The rest of the article was filler after this to-the-point-ruling.

    Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said he expects an “aggressive appeal” of Reeves’s ruling.

    Does he expect the aggressive defeats Mississippi will receive? Not only will his state be made to look like the home of the in-bred it is it will pay through the nose for the “privilege.”



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  • Here is the BBC report on this:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-36687897

    A US judge has blocked a Mississippi law protecting religious objections to same-sex marriage a day before it was set to take effect.

    It favoured some religious beliefs over others and would mean unequal treatment for gay people, the judge said.

    The measure was intended to protect people who objected on religious grounds to gay marriage, extramarital sex and changing gender.

    State attorneys are expected to appeal the ruling.

    US District Judge Carlton Reeves issued the injunction blocking the law from taking effect on Friday.

    Mississippi’s “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act” would have allowed those who cite religious beliefs to refuse a broad range of services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

    Critics have said the law is so broad it could apply to almost anyone outside of a heterosexual marriage, affecting business practices, adoptions, foster care, school bathroom policies and marriage licences.

    Republican Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who signed the bill into law in April, said he was disappointed at the ruling.

    “Like I said when I signed House Bill 1523, the law simply provides religious accommodations granted by many other states and federal law,” Bryant said.

    “I am disappointed Judge Reeves did not recognise that reality. I look forward to an aggressive appeal.”



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