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 LGBT community.

“[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 Supreme Court.

The state has already asked the appeals court to stay Reeves' order.