Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, has criticized Republican arguments used to pass a law that protects opponents of marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

A federal judge on Thursday blocked the law from taking effect on Friday.

(Related: Federal judge blocks Mississippi's anti-gay law from taking effect.)

“I can’t pick my clients, but I can speak for myself as a named defendant in this lawsuit. The fact is that the churchgoing public was duped into believing that HB1523 protected religious freedoms,” Hood said in a statement. “Our state leaders attempted to mislead pastors into believing that if this bill were not passed, they would have to preside over gay wedding ceremonies. No court case has ever said a pastor did not have discretion to refuse to marry any couple for any reason. I hate to see politicians continue to prey on people who pray, go to church, follow the law and help their fellow man.”

Mississippi's Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (House Bill 1523) allows businesses to deny services to LGBT people based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions,” protects clergy from being forced to marry gay couples and states that gender is determined at birth.

Hood called the judge's ruling “straightforward and clear.” He also refused to say whether his office would file an appeal in the case and suggested that the money used on an appeal was better spent elsewhere.

“Even if we won and the injunction were set aside on appeal, the case would be remanded and proceed to trial over about two years,” Hood said. “Because of the huge tax breaks handed out to big corporations by these same leaders, the state is throwing mentally ill patients out on the street. This is hardly protecting the least among us as Jesus directed.”