The Supreme Court is refusing to hear challenges to a Mississippi law that allows businesses and government employees to deny services to LGBT people based on their religious beliefs.
Mississippi’s “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act” (HB 1523) allows state employees, corporations, individuals, healthcare providers, and nonprofit organizations to use religion as a justification to discriminate against nearly everyone—same sex couples, single mothers, divorcees, and anyone who has had sex outside of marriage.
The law allows discrimination against same sex couples, single mothers, divorcees, and anyone who has had sex outside of marriage.
The law promises that the state government will not punish people who refuse to provide services to people because of a religious opposition to same-sex marriage, extramarital sex or transgender people.
In fact, in Mississippi, women can now be fired for wearing pants, or having premarital sex, under the sweeping new “religious freedom” law designed to allow discrimination against LGBT people.
Reporting on the Supreme Court’s decision, The Hill notes:
LGBT rights groups called the law the “worst in the nation” and the Supreme Court’s decision a “missed opportunity.”
In a statement, Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans, said:
The Court’s inaction today means that LGBTQ Mississippians will continue to face harassment and discrimination.HB 1523 fails to honor the tradition of religious freedom in America — instead, it allows people to use religion as a license to discriminate. The LGBTQ community remains in harm’s way every single day that this law is in effect, and we are committed to working with our legal partners to strike this draconian measure once and for all.
NBC reports that the battle against the draconian law may not be over, noting:
A new round of challenges is expected from residents who have been denied service, and the issue could come back to the Supreme Court’s doorstep.
Gay rights groups promised to continue their efforts against the deplorable legislation. Promising to keep fighting for justice, Beth Littrell of Lambda Legal declared:
We will keep fighting in Mississippi until we overturn this harmful law, and in any state where anti-gay legislators pass laws to roll back LGBT civil rights. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision today leaves LGBT people in Mississippi in the crosshairs of hate and humiliation, delaying justice and equality.
Ultimately, the legislation is expressly designed to make it possible for Christian extremists in Mississippi to demean and disadvantage members of the LGBT population and others they do not like under the guise of religious freedom.
Bottom line: the legislation is yet another example of the mean-spirited, anti-gay hatred and bigotry so often expressed by conservative Christians, and serves only to demonstrate once again the moral and intellectual poverty of Christian conservatives in Mississippi, and across the country.