A federal judge on Monday denied
Mississippi's request to be allowed to enforce its controversial
“religious freedom” law while it appeals a ruling blocking the
measure from taking effect.
On June 30, U.S. District Court Judge
Carlton Reeves issued a ruling blocking House Bill 1523 from taking
effect on the following day. Republican Governor Phil Bryant
appealed Reeves' finding to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and
asked Reeves to stay his order during the appeal.
Mississippi's Protecting Freedom of
Conscience from Government Discrimination Act allows businesses
to deny services to LGBT people based on their “sincerely held
religious beliefs or moral convictions.” It also seeks to provide
similar protections to individuals who object to transgender rights.
In dismissing the state's motion,
Reeves suggested that the state was motivated by animus toward the
“[I]ssuing a marriage license to a
gay couple is not like being forced into armed combat or to assist
with an abortion. Matters of life and death are sui generis.
If movants truly believe that providing services to LGBT citizens
forces them to 'tinker with the machinery of death,' their animus
exceeds anything seen in Romer, Windsor or the marriage
equality cases,” Reeves
wrote, referring to earlier gay rights cases argued before the
The state has already asked the appeals
court to stay Reeves' order.