Supreme Court Will Not Hear Arguments On Mississippi Religious Exemption Law

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The U.S. Supreme Court denied two requests to hear arguments against a Mississippi law that allows businesses and organizations to refuse service to LGBT people based on “sincerely held” religious beliefs.

The state law (House Bill 1523) was previously blocked in July 2016 after being proposed in the wake of 2015’s passage of national marriage equality, according to Gay Star News. That ruling was later reversed in 2017 and two groups immediately put out appeals to the law.

“The Court’s inaction today means that LGBTQ Mississippians will continue to face harassment and discrimination,” CEO of Freedom for All Americans Masen Davis said in a statement. “The LGBTQ community remains in harm’s way every single day that this law is in effect.”

The court did open the possibility that it would hear a case if “clear injury was shown” in a future appeal.

The law specifically protects beliefs including marriage being between a man and a woman, according to Gay Star News. It also says that a person’s sex assigned at birth cannot be changed.

“The insidious power of a law like this is that it casts a long shadow over public life, forcing someone to assess whether they will be treated fairly and respectfully in situations from the crisis of an emergency room to an anniversary dinner at a restaurant to a child’s classroom,” executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality Jasmine Beach-Ferrara said of the law.

“Now we face the cruel reality of the law going into effect and the imminent threat it poses to the dignity, health and well-being of LGBT Mississippians.”


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