Judge: Mississippi can’t enforce anti-LGBT law as court battle continues

Posted on 02 Aug 2016 at 1:15pm
Governor_Phil_Bryant

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant

A federal judge in Mississippi on Monday, Aug. 1, refused state officials’ request to be allowed to enforce Mississippi’s anti-LGBT HB 1523 as the state appeals his ruling against the constitutionality of the measure, according to BuzzFeed reports.

HB 1523, signed into law in April by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, provided protections for individuals, religious organizations and certain businesses who take actions due to their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” regarding same-sex marriage — or any sex outside straight marriage. It also provided similar protections for those who object to transgender people.

U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves in June issued a permanent injunction barring Mississippi from denying same-sex marriage licenses, meaning no circuit clerk or staff member clerk can deny a gay couple a marriage license even if House Bill 1523 is in effect.

On Monday, Reeves refused to put his ruling on hold while the state appeals the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. He wrote, “[I]ssuing a marriage license to a gay couple is not like being forced into armed combat or to assist with an abortion. Matters of life and death are sui generis. If movants truly believe that providing services to LGBT citizens forces them to ‘tinker with the machinery of death,’ their animus exceeds anything seen in Romer, Windsor, or the marriage equality cases.

“The motions are denied,” Reeves added. “The baton is now passed.”

Meanwhile in North Carolina

Also on Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder in Winston-Salem, N.C., heard arguments on whether to suspend that state’s highly controversial HB2 — which prevents transgender people from using the appropriate public restrooms and which prohibits local governments from enacting LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination laws, among other things.

Schroeder, who is expected to rule soon, seemed a bit skeptical, pressing the state “to show how the law made anyone safer and whether it was necessary.”

In related new, the Raleigh-based News & Observer is reporting that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has allowed the state’s disaster relief fund to instead be used to pay outside legal counsel defending him and other state officials against the many lawsuits that have been filed challenging HB2.

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