Freedom From Govt Discrimination Law to Take Effect in Miss. — LGBT Opposes

By Michael W. Chapman

( — Unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear an appeal before Tuesday, Oct. 10, Mississippi’s new law that protects the “moral conviction” of people who uphold marriage as being between one man and one woman will take effect.

As it is defined, the law (HB 1523) provides “broad protection of free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions,” and would shield people in government and the private sector from having to engage in or facilitate transactions they view as immoral, such as catering for gay marriages, renting rooms to gay couples, or assisting homosexuals to adopt children.

LGBT activists and the legal groups representing them oppose the new law, saying it violates the rights of homosexuals, favoring one group over another group. Mississippi’s governor, Phil Bryant, signed the bill into law in April 2016.

Although the law was challenged in the courts since then, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in June 2017 that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to challenge the law. Last week, the 5th Circuit refused to re-hear the claim by the LGBT activists and their lawyers, represented by the Campaign for Southern Equality.  The attorneys are now appealing to the Supreme Court for relief. (As this story went to press, the high court had not responded.)

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