A federal judge has halted Mississippi’s anti-LGBT religious exemption law HB 1523 from going into effect mere minute before it was set to begin.
“Under the guise of providing additional protection for religious exercise, it creates a vehicle for state-sanctioned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” U.S. District Court Carlton Reeves wrote of the law. “It is not rationally related to a legitimate end.”
The anti-LGBT law would have provided protections for individuals, religious organizations, and certain businesses who take actions due to their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” to same-sex marriage — or any sex outside straight marriage. It also provided protections for those who object to transgender people.
“HB 1523 grants special rights to citizens who hold one of three ‘sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions’ reflecting disapproval of lesbian, gay, transgender, and unmarried persons,” Reeves wrote in the Thursday night decision. “That violates both the guarantee of religious neutrality and the promise of equal protection of the laws.”.