Anti-Gay Mississippi Marriage Law Remains Blocked While Appeal Considered

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has denied Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s request to allow the anti-LGBT HB1523 law to go into effect while the state appeals a lower court’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional. Bryant’s request to expedite the appeal was also rejected.

The Associated Press reports: “Mississippi’s law on religious objections to same-sex marriage will remain blocked while the governor appeals a judge’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Friday that it would not immediately remove the block that U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves put on House Bill 1523 moments before it was to become law July 1.

The Republican-led Legislature passed the bill this year in response to the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide. It sought to protect three beliefs: That marriage is only between a man and a woman; that sex should only take place in such a marriage; and that a person’s gender is determined at birth and cannot be altered.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant is seeking to overturn Reeves’ ruling, and he had asked the 5th Circuit to let the law take effect during the appeals process.

The New Orleans-based 5th Circuit — which handles appeals from Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas — on Friday also said it would not grant Bryant’s request for a speedy appeal of Reeves’ ruling.

The law would allow clerks to cite religious objections to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and would protect merchants who refuse services to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people. It could affect adoptions and foster care, business practices and school bathroom policies.

Reeves found that it unconstitutionally establishes preferred beliefs and creates unequal treatment for gay people.”