Court clears state LGBT ob­jec­tions law; appeal likely

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

JACKSON | A fed­eral ap­peals court said Thurs­day that Mis­sis­sippi can start en­forc­ing a law that al­lows mer­chants and gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees to cite re­li­gious be­liefs to deny ser­vices to same-sex cou­ples, but op­po­nents of the law im­me­di­ately pledged to appeal.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the 5th Cir­cuit re­versed a judge’s de­ci­sion that had blocked the law.

U.S. District Judge Carl­ton Reeves had ruled that the law un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally es­tab­lishes pre­ferred be­liefs and cre­ates un­equal treat­ment for LGBT peo­ple. His rul­ing pre­vented the law from tak­ing ef­fect last July.

The ap­peals court said plain­tiffs failed to prove that they would be harmed by the law, which started as House Bill 1523.

Le­gal ex­perts said it is the broad­est re­li­gious-ob­jec­tions mea­sure en­acted

by any state.

The law cham­pi­oned and signed in 2016 by Repub­li­can 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.

It would al­low clerks to cite re­li­gious ob­jec­tions to re­cuse them­selves from is­su­ing mar­riage li­censes to same-sex cou­ples, and would pro­tect mer­chants who refuse ser­vices to LGBT peo­ple. It could af­fect adop­tions and fos­ter care, busi­ness prac­tices and school bath­room poli­cies.

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