Mississippi's controversial “religious
freedom” law that allows government workers and businesses to
refuse service to the LGBT community is set to take effect Tuesday,
October 10, barring intervention from the U.S. Supreme Court.
An ongoing lawsuit has kept the law on
hold for more than a year.
In June, a three-judge panel of the
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that plaintiffs in the case
lacked standing to challenge the law, reversing a lower court's order
that blocked law, known as HB 1523. On Friday, the appeals court
denied a request to rehear the case before the full court. The 5th
Circuit did not address the law's constitutionality.
Opponents of the law plan to file an
appeal later this month with the U.S. Supreme Court.
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.
It is considered the broadest religious objections law enacted since
Obergefell, the 2015
Supreme Court case that found that gay and lesbian couples have a
constitutional right to marry.
Republican Governor Phil Bryant, who
last year signed the bill into law, this week defended the law as
A rally to protest HB 1523 is planned
for Sunday outside the state Capitol.