The fight for LGBT rights continues in Mississippi.
Mississippi’s discriminatory anti-LGBT legislation, HB 1523, has been enacted as a protest to the Supreme Court decision which legalized same-sex marriage throughout America.
A challenge has been brought to the law by means of federal challenge. The case, “Barber v. Bryant,” was started by civil rights attorney Robert McDuff and is now being joined by Lambda Legal.
HB 1523 had previously received and injunction from a federal district court judge that prevented the law from taking effect. That ruling is now on appeal before the U.S. Fifth Court of Appeals.
“This law is a wolf in sheep’s clothing — it is LGBT discrimination disguised as religious freedom,” Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation at Lambda Legal said in a press release. “The law sets an array of traps for LGBT people, from allowing governments employees to refuse to serve them, to leaving LGBT youth in foster care unprotected from dangerous condemnation by the adults who are supposed to help them.”
According to the press release, HB 1523 allows a number of institutions, including government organizations, private business, medical and social services to discriminate against Mississippians based on “the existence of transgender people, marriages of same-sex couples and non-marital sexual relationships.”
“Because this law endorses discrimination in the name of religion, it violates the First Amendment’s prohibition on government endorsement of religious beliefs and the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equality before the law,” McDuff said. “We hope and believe that the appeals court will uphold the injunction we won in the federal district court. The plaintiffs in our case represent the many thousands of Mississippians who oppose the misguided law.”
Lambda Legal has joined the case, bringing a long history of fighting for LGBT rights across the country. Along with Mississippi, the group is currently litigating similar cases in Indiana, Arizona, North Carolina and elsewhere.