Saturday, July 2, 2016

Judge Blocks Mississippi's Anti-LGBT “Religious Freedom” Law

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves is my new hero.

Here is why.

Mississippi’s HB 1523, a law specifically outlining legal ways for people to discriminate against LGBT people, was set to take effect Friday, but Thursday night, Judge Reeves granted a preliminary injunction preventing it from doing so.

Good thing he did considering just how outrageously anti-LGBT this bill was!

HB 1523 or “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” literally stated that it was designed to protect three specific religious beliefs/moral convictions:

(a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman;
(b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and
(c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.

In other words, marriage is only between biological men and women, sex should wait until marriage, and that there is no such thing as having a transgender identity.

Therefore anybody who cited one of these beliefs as a reason for discriminating would be off the hook from government punishment.

My new hero, Judge Reeves, concluded that by protecting only citizens with those beliefs, HB 1523...

“violates both the guarantee of religious neutrality and the promise of equal protection of the laws.

Reeves said in his statements Mississippi's law was comparable to Colorado’s Amendment 2, a law that prohibited establishing nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation which the Supreme Court ruled that law unconstitutional in the 1996 case Romer v. Evans.

In his decision, Reeves also noted the various comments that Mississippi lawmakers made when considering the passage of HB 1523 finding that its goal was actually an “attempt to put LGBT citizens back in their place" after last year’s Supreme Court decision establishing marriage equality nationwide.

Judge reeves wrote...

Religious freedom was one of the building blocks of this great nation, and after the nation was torn apart, the guarantee of equal protection under law was used to stitch it back together. But HB 1523 does not honor that tradition of religion freedom, nor does it respect the equal dignity of all of Mississippi’s citizens. It must be enjoined.

Just to add to his bona fides Judge Carlton Reeves had previously ruled against Mississippi’s bans on same-sex marriage and adoption!

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