Mississippi asks court to uphold law allowing discrimination against LGBT people

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi‘s Republican governor is asking a federal appeals court to uphold a state law letting merchants and government employees cite religious beliefs to deny services to same-sex couples.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves blocked the “religious objections” law moments before it was to take effect July 1, ruling that it unconstitutionally establishes preferred beliefs and creates unequal treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The law championed and signed by Gov. Phil Bryant sought to protect three beliefs: Marriage is only between a man and a woman; sex should only take place in such a marriage; and a person’s gender is determined at birth and cannot be altered.

Mississippi Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood declined to appeal Reeves’ ruling. The governor’s appeal is instead being handled by private attorneys, including some working for Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based Christian legal group that helped write the measure. Bryant signed it into law last April.

The law “gives the opponents of same-sex marriage the same conscientious-objector protections that federal law confers on the opponents of warfare, abortion, capital punishment and physician-assisted suicide,” attorneys for the governor wrote in arguments filed Wednesday at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The law would have allowed clerks to cite religious objections to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and would have protected merchants who refuse services to LGBT people. It could have affected adoptions and foster care, business practices and school bathroom policies.

Source: Mississippi asks court to uphold law allowing discrimination against LGBT people


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