Federal Appeals Court Denies Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant Request to Enforce Sweeping Anti-Gay Law

 
 

Religion-Based Law Would Allow Discrimination Against LGBT People, Especially Same-Sex Couples, and Any Person Who Has Had Sex Outside of Marriage

A federal appeals court has just upheld a lower court's ruling denying Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant's request to allow him to enforce a law that makes anti-LGBT discrimination legal. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Friday afternoon honored U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves' August 1 ruling, in which he refused to stay his prior ruling that HB 1523 is unconstitutional and could not be enforced.

On Friday, the 5th Circuit stated it would maintain the status quo by not allowing the law to be enforced. Judge Reeves had ruled literally hours before the law was slated to become effective that it was unconstitutional, and thus has never been enforced.

Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner reports, "in denying the request for a stay pending appeal," the 5th Circuit "also denied the governor’s request to expedite the appeal."

In his July 1 ruling Judge Reeves stated HB 1523 is "state-sanctioned discrimination," and said its "absence does not impair the free exercise of religion."

In that ruling Reeves also slammed Gov. Bryant, stating "issuing a marriage license to a gay couple is not like being forced into armed combat or to assist with an abortion," speaking to the State's argument that irreparable harm could come without HB 1523. "Matters of life and death are sui generis. If movants truly believe that providing services to LGBT citizens forces them to ‘tinker with the machinery of death,’ their animus exceeds anything seen in Romer, Windsor, or the marriage equality cases."

Gov. Bryant will have to decide if he wants to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Equality Case Files has the ruling.

UPDATE I: 3:59 PM EDT –
Via the Jackson Free Press:

"The conservative legal organization, Alliance Defending Freedom, is providing co-counsel for the governor's appeal in the 5th Circuit. HB 1523 was based, at least in part, on language from a model policy that ADF sent to the governor's office before same-sex marriage was legalized nationally in 2015."
 

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