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Judge Rules Mississippi Law Protecting Objections to Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Friday, July 1, 2016

Judge Rules Mississippi Law Protecting Objections to Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional

A federal judge has decided that a Mississippi law that would have protected religious objections to gay marriage is unconstitutional.

House Bill 1523 said that Mississippi residents could use moral convictions to justify declining to offer some services and under the law, they would not be punished by the state.

The bill reads that those religious or moral beliefs include: “Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman; Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”

However, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled that the proposed law favored some religious views over others, according to NPR. He also said the bill could hurt LGBT citizens in Mississippi.

"There are almost endless explanations for how HB 1523 condones discrimination against the LGBT community, but in its simplest terms it denies LGBT citizens equal protection under the law," Reeves wrote.

State attorneys in Mississippi are expected to appeal. Gov. Phil Bryan said he is looking “forward to an aggressive appeal.”

Said Susan Hrostowski, a plaintiff in the case: “I'm an Episcopal priest, and I'm kind of crazy about the gospel, and I'm crazy about Jesus. And his message was that we should love one another so I found this bill to be offensive from that perspective," she said. 

"But then also as a lesbian — I've been with my wife for 27 years now, and we have a son. And so for both of those reasons I just fought to make sure that people like me weren't mistreated in the state of Mississippi.

Publication date: July 1, 2016