Federal Court Refuses To Halt Enforcement of Mississippi's "Religious Liberty" Bill

Image by Getty Images

Image by Getty Images

A federal court in Mississippi has refused to halt enforcement of HB 1523, the Mississippi law passed in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s upholding marriage equality last year. The bill is apparently the brainchild of a Religious Right organization that has litigated denial-of-service cases across the country.

HB 1523 would allow a range of individuals, corporations, healthcare providers, and nonprofit organizations—including those that receive taxpayer funding to perform social services—to refuse to provide goods and services to same-sex couples, single mothers, divorcees, or anyone who has had sex outside of marriage. Americans United has opposed HB 1523 since it was introduced in February.

The American Civil Liberties, which filed the first of the four legal challenges now pending against HB 1523, sought a court order to stop the law from going into effect on July 1. The ACLU is representing a same-sex couple who is engaged to be married and who could face discrimination when they seek their marriage license.  The trial court determined, however, that no order was needed at this time because the couple had not yet applied for a license.

The ACLU immediately filed a motion asking the court to reconsider, and litigation in all four challenges is ongoing

Americans United will continue to contest laws like HB 1523, which use religion to justify legalizing discrimination. Should you or someone you know experience discrimination when seeking to obtain a marriage license or otherwise experience religiously motivated discrimination when attempting to purchase goods and services, please contact Americans United at legal@protectthyneighbor.org. 

Follow Carmen Green online at @CNGinDC.