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A federal appeals court has just dismissed a challenge to Mississippi's horrific anti-LGBT "religious freedom" bill, ruling that the plaintiffs haven't been personally harmed by the law, and therefore don't have standing to sue. The court did not rule on the merits of the law itself.
HB 1523 was signed into law by Republican Governor Phil Bryant last year in April. It has been called the most extreme anti-LGBT bill introduced anywhere in the nation.
Mississippi's Clarion Ledger reports "HB 1523 now Mississippi's law of land."
The law bars the state from taking action against anyone who discriminates based on their belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman, that sexual relations should be reserved to such a union, or that "male" and "female" refer to someone's "immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth."
It also allows individuals, businesses, government employees, nonprofits and other entities, based on their sincerely held religious beliefs, to discriminate against not only LGBT people and same-sex couples, but also against anyone who's had extramarital sex.
“Under this current record, the plaintiffs have not shown an injury-in-fact caused by HB 1523 that would empower the district court or this court to rule on its constitutionality," Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry E. Smith wrote in his majority opinion.
"We do not foreclose the possibility that a future plaintiff may be able to show clear injury-in-fact … but the federal courts must withhold judgment unless and until that plaintiff comes forward," he noted, as Mississippi Today reports.
"HB 1523’s absence does not impair the free exercise of religion," Judge Carlton Reeves wrote.
"In addition," Reeves noted at the time, "issuing a marriage license to a gay couple is not like being forced into armed combat or to assist with an abortion. 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."
One week after Gov. Bryant signed HB 1523 into law, then-President Barack Obama publicly urged it to be overturned.
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