June 23, 2017

Federal appeals court allows massive discrimination against gays in Mississippi

Huffington Post - A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals this week lifted a lower court injunction that had stopped the implementation of what many legal observers and LGBTQ activists view as the worst, most dangerous legislative attack on LGBTQ people yet.

Mississippi’s HB 1523, the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant in April of 2016 but put on hold by a federal judge, allows for the most far-reaching religious exemptions of any bill we’ve seen in the states...

The law allows for businesses and government employees to decline service to LGBT people, and that including bakers, florists, county clerks and even someone working at the department of motor vehicles. It allows for discrimination in housing and employment to same-sex couples or any individual within a same-sex couple. Businesses and government, under the law, can regulate where transgender people go to the bathroom. The law allows mental health professionals and doctors, nurses and clinics to turn away LGBT individuals. It also allows state-funded adoption agencies to turn away LGBT couples...

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves had ruled the law unconstitutional - a violation of the Establishment Clause - in July of 2016 in a consolidated case, the plaintiffs in which included the Campaign for Southern Equality and LGBTQ-affirming churches and ministers. He issued a preliminary injunction. The 5th Circuit this week lifted that order, in a unanimous decision of the three-judge panel. Judge Jerry Smith, writing for the court, basically argued that the plaintiffs do not have standing because they have not yet experienced discrimination - which, of course, wouldn’t happen until after the law is in effect, which makes it a bizarre ruling:

No comments: