US: 5th Circuit rules for Mississippi anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ law

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted a court order against a “religious freedom” law in Mississippi that would enable sweeping anti-LGBT discrimination, citing a lack of standing for plaintiffs in litigation against the statute.

Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, U.S. Circuit Judge Jerry Smith issued a decision allowing enforcement of HB 1523, which had been blocked as a result of a lower court order.

“The Governor of Mississippi and the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services appeal a preliminary injunction,” Smith writes. “Because the plaintiffs do not have standing, we reverse the injunction and render a judgment of dismissal.”

Smith denies assertions of injury from plaintiffs, who alleged the Mississippi law violates the Establishment Clause because it takes into account only certain religions views on LGBT people.

Signed by Gov. Phil Bryant last year, HB 1523 enables individuals and businesses to discriminate against LGBT people in the name of “religious freedom.”

The law prohibits the state from taking action against religious organizations that decline employment, housing or services to same-sex couples; families who’ve adopted a foster child and wish to act in opposition to same-sex marriage; and individuals who offer wedding services and decline to facilitate a same-sex wedding.

Additionally, the bill allows individuals working in medical services to decline to afford a transgender person gender reassignment surgery. The bill also allows state government employees who facilitate marriages the option to opt out of issuing licenses to same-sex couples, but the person must issue prior written notice to the state government and a clerk’s office must not delay in the issuing of licenses. Read more via Washington Blade