The Supreme Court on Monday announced
that it would not hear a challenge to Mississippi's controversial
“religious freedom” law.
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 had put the law, known as HB 1523, on hold. Plaintiffs appealed
to the Supreme Court after the appeals court denied a request to
rehear the case before the full court. The law took effect in
The 5th Circuit did not
address the constitutionality of the law.
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.
The Supreme Court did not explain its
reasons for not taking the case.
Republican Governor Phil Bryant, who
signed the bill into law, has defended the law as “perfectly
Masen Davis, CEO of the LGBT group
Freedom for All Americans, criticized the court's decision in a
“The court’s inaction today means
that LGBTQ Mississipians will continue to face harassment and
discrimination,” Davis said. “HB 1523 fails to honor the
tradition of religious freedom in America – instead, it allows
people to use religion as a license to discriminate. The LGBTQ
community remains in harm’s way every single day that this law is
in effect, and we are committed to working with our legal partners to
strike this draconian measure once and for all.”