HB1523 blocked by judge - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

HB1523 blocked by judge

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A federal judge has blocked a Mississippi law that would allow merchants and government employees to deny services to same sex couples, based on their religious beliefs. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves made the ruling moments before the law was to go into effect, around 11:30 p.m

HB 1523 opponents breathed a sigh of relief collectively after the 11th hour ruling blocked the law from going into effect.  

"We do not want hate in our state said Human Rights Campaign of Mississippi Director Rob Hill. "HB 1523 is hate with the power of law behind it."

Many at a rally sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign on the state capitol steps feared the law would make those in Mississippi's LGBT communities more vulnerable to hate, and possibly violence. 

The federal injunction is only temporary relief for those campaigning against what they call hateful legislation.

"We hope our state leaders will listen to this and do the right thing and drop this and take the target off the backs of LGBT people in our state," added Hill.

With the likelihood the ruling will be appealed by the state, lawyers representing the plaintiffs in two lawsuits challenging the bill, are cautiously confident as they plan to fight for a full repeal of the law.

"We are confident that our decision will be upheld," said Mississippi Center for Justice attorney Beth orlansky. "Technically the case now will continue and we will seek a permanent injunction. I don't know if a trial will be necessary.  Judge Reeves has ruled on all the law."

House Speaker and proponent of the religious objections law, Philip Gunn, put out the following statement: "I am disappointed in Judge Reeves' ruling on House Bill 1523.  We felt like this was a good bill that focused on protecting religious beliefs while also protecting the rights of the LGBT community."

"The fact is that the churchgoing public was duped into believing that HB 1523 protected religious freedoms," said Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood in a statement. "Our state leaders attempted to mislead pastors into believing that if this bill were not passed, they would have to preside over gay wedding ceremonies."

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