January 8, 2018 — For Immediate Release
Today the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not grant review of two legal cases challenging Mississippi’s HB 1523, one of the nation’s most sweeping anti-LGBTQ state laws.
The cases, Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant and Bryant v. Barber, both challenge the Mississippi law that went into effect in October 2017, following a 17-month-long legal battle as advocates attempted to block HB 1523 from becoming a reality for residents of the Magnolia State.
Mississippi HB 1523 includes protections for three religious beliefs:
- Marriage should be recognized as a union between one man and one woman;
- sexual relations are reserved for those marriages; and
- a person’s gender refers to his or her biological sex assigned at birth.
The sweeping bill authorizes Mississippi officials and service providers, such as doctors and store owners — and, unfortunately for children, child welfare agencies including foster and adoption service providers — to recuse themselves from serving LGBTQ individuals and families on the basis of these beliefs.
The U.S. Supreme Court justices did not comment on the decision to deny review Monday, a move that leaves in place a federal appeals court ruling that allowed the law to take effect.
It is important to note that although HB 1523 was previously ruled unconstitutional by a lower court, the law went into effect because that decision was later overturned by a panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals based on a technicality — the panel argued that because the plaintiffs had not actually been harmed by the bill they lacked the legal standing to challenge it — rather than an examination of the law’s constitutional merits.
Family Equality Council remains committed to overturning this damaging, license-to-discriminate bill to ensure the safety and security of LGBTQ Mississippians and their families.
If you live in Mississippi and have experienced discrimination on one of the bases listed above, please contact our Policy Team immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.