After Supreme Court Punts, Anti-LGBTQ Mississippi Law Remains in Place

A challenge to a Mississippi law allowing Christians (well, all religious people, but let’s face it, Christians) to discriminate against LGBTQ people will not be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. They declined to hear the case yesterday, and that means the discriminatory law remains in place.

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If a Christian state official refuses to officiate a same-sex wedding, that’s okay.

If a Christian baker won’t sell a wedding cake to a gay couple, that’s fine.

If a Christian pharmacist refuses to dispense birth control to a single woman, it’s legal.

If a Christian principal refuses to let transgender students use the proper bathrooms, he could get away with it.

If a Christian foster care administrator refuses to let children be placed with lesbian mothers, it’s permitted.

That’s what HB 1523 allows. While a lower court judge said the law was unconstitutional, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision saying the plaintiffs didn’t have proper standing to bring forth the case. They weren’t discriminated against yet; they were acting proactively. The good news, then, is that the case could move forward (again) after an LGBTQ person is discriminated against… The bad news is we just have to wait for Christians to discriminate against people who are then willing to fight back in court.

The 2016 law specifically protects people whose religious beliefs include the following:

(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.

It’s a gift to Christian bigots everywhere. The law literally gives them permission to discriminate.

The Supreme Court is already set to rule on another case similar to this. It involves a Christian baker who didn’t want to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple. But the difference is that the Colorado law in question was against discrimination, and the Christian baker wants to discriminate. In backwards Mississippi, the law permits discrimination, and decent human beings want to put a stop to that.

The Supreme Court choosing not to take up this case means that, for now, “religious freedom” is once again synonymous with Christian hate. As if practicing their faith means belittling LGBTQ people they come into contact with, even when they’re public business owners or government officials.

As Americans United for Separation of Church and State said last year when the case was working its way through the courts, this law says that LGBTQ Americans are “unworthy of equal dignity, equal citizenship, and equal protection of the laws.” That indignity is what conservative Christians want to protect. And for now, they get to keep their upper hand.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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