US district judge blocks Mississippi religious freedom law
MANILA, Philippines – A United States federal judge blocked a Mississippi law, which would have allowed private citizens and public officials to refuse or delay services to same sex-couples, the Associated Press reported Friday, July 1.
US District Judge Carlton Reeves filed his ruling in response to two lawsuits, blocking the law before it could take effect. State lawyers, however, will likely appeal his decisions.
Reeves explained the law violated the Constitution's equal protection guarantee.
"The state has put its thumb on the scale to favor some religious beliefs over others," he said.
Phil Bryant, Republican Mississippi Governor, signed House Bill 1523 in April. The bill would let clerks cite religious objections to keep them from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
It would also protect private citizens and merchants who refuse services to LGBT people, and could also affect adoptions and foster care, as well as the practices of businesses and bathroom policies in schools.
If the law went into effect, it would protect 3 specific beliefs:
- Marriage is only between a man and a woman
- Sex should only occur in marriages of this sort
- Gender is determined at birth and is unalterable.