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. Miss. Laws 2016, HB 1523 § 2 (eff. July 1, 2016). That violates both the guarantee ofreligious neutrality and the promise of equal protection of the laws.Hate group leader Tony Perkins is upset. In an email to supporters:
Family Research Council: Judge Displays Religious Animus Against Mississippians In Striking Down Religious Freedom LawPresumably Mr. Perkins will show similar devotion to nondiscrimination laws that are “ approved overwhelmingly by the elected representatives of the citizens.” It continues:
This decision is an example of why the American people are increasingly fed up with unelected judges telling them that they have no say over their own government or their own freedoms. This law, which was approved overwhelmingly by the elected representatives of the citizens of Mississippi, simply stops government discrimination against people who believe what has been the norm for 5,000 years, that marriage is between a man and a woman. It does not authorize any government office or official to deny services, and requires officials to provide lawful marriage licenses.
While Judge Reeves issued his decree under the cloak of darkness last night, the judge's religious animus against the people of Mississippi is as clear as day. …A “cloak of darkness” appeal. It is the published opinion of a federal judge. Please.
This law was designed to protect against state-imposed orthodoxy on marriage. It does not change the definition of marriage at all. How the judge could miss that is baffling.That was the pretext. The law was designed to frustrate same-sex marriage, As Judge Reeves notes the law grants some people “special rights.”
Family Research Council commends Mississippi's elected leaders for standing up for the freedom of their citizens to believe and live according to those beliefs.…I am sure that they are delighted.