Judge Nukes Law To Protect Florists And Bakers From Serving Gay Weddings

Protesters march on May 1 seeking repeal of a Mississippi law allowing religious groups and some private businesses to deny services to same-sex couples transgender people and others. A federal judge ruled the law unconstitutional late Thursday

Judge Nukes Law To Protect Florists And Bakers From Serving Gay Weddings

Lawyers in the case, which arose from suits filed by the Mississippi Center for Justice and the Campaign for Southern Equality, argued that the law was motivated by animus toward gay and transgender people and that it unconstitutionally endorsed and provided exclusive protection for "certain narrow religious beliefs".

More than a dozen U.S. states have passed or considered "religious liberty" laws in response to last June's historic Supreme Court decision to legalise gay marriage nationwide.

"In physics, every action has its equal and opposite reaction", wrote Reeves, who was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama in 2010. "In politics, every action has its predictable overreaction".

Judge Carlton Reeves of the Southern Mississippi U.S. District Court had initially refused to block the state's controversial LGBT discrimination bill H.B.

His ruling on Thursday came after religious leaders, including an Episcopal vicar and a Jewish rabbi, last week testified in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of MS that the law did not reflect their religious views.

"I look forward to an aggressive appeal", Governor Bryant said of the decision.

"The office Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood did not immediately respond to Reeves" ruling.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1523, or the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, in April in response to the United States Supreme Court's ruling last summer in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. "We do have a history in America of trying to get around people's constitutional rights and give discrimination the color of law". The law would have allowed business and government employees to deny service to LGBTQ people based on religious beliefs. He said that from his perspective, the law "doesn't accomplish anything", because it doesn't grant anyone rights they didn't already have.

"The ruling is significant in really protecting our First Amendment", Sepper said.

The pro-LGBT groups that have been supporting the repeal of this bill celebrated this morning as the decision was announced. The House Bill 1523 was to take effect at midnight, but the injunction would prevent it from being implemented.

Gov. Bryant (photo) was given an award for signing HB 1523 into law by the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council.

Pentecostals were among the top supporters of the measure, and Matis pointed to the city of Jackson's adoption of a nondiscrimination ordinance last month as one example of why he thinks the law is needed.

However, state Health Department spokeswoman Liz Sharlot tells The Associated Press that the department no longer has any record of who filed the form. And the laws do this by carving out an exemption: If your religion says that gays shouldn't marry, well then by gum you can just go on pretending that they haven't.

This was Reeves' second high-profile case dealing with gay rights.

So, although there have been no reported problems in the state with same-sex marriage licenses being issued since the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell a year ago, the proposed bill hit a nerve. Doing so may result in civil and/or criminal penalties.

The ordinance bans most businesses that offer accommodations, goods or services to the public from discriminating on the basis sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or religion.

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