The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals today reversed an injunction against Mississippi House Bill 1523 (HB 1523) which is considered one of the most anti-LGBTI laws in the US.
Known as the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, the law effectively gives license to anyone to discriminate against LGBTI people including organizations and businesses based on ‘sincerely held’ religious or moral beliefs.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant Bryant had signed the bill into law in April 2016.
The law also includes a portion that forces transgender people in Mississippi to use bathrooms corresponding with the gender of their birth instead of their gender identity.
US District Judge Carlton Reeves had struck down the bathroom portion of the law last June and a month later issued a ruling that blocked HB 1523 from going into effect.
Reeves had written that HB 1523 ‘violates both the guarantee of religious neutrality and the promise of equal protection of the laws’ and that ‘the deprivation of equal protection of the laws is HB 1523’s very essence.’
But a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit disagrees.
Opponents of the law vow to continue their legal fight against it.
‘We believe the Fifth Circuit panel is wrong and intend to seek further review, perhaps from the full Fifth Circuit and definitely from the United States Supreme Court,’ says Mississippi civil rights attorney Rob McDuff.
‘People should not have to live through discrimination in order to challenge this obviously unconstitutional bill. Even though the injunction has been reversed for now, I am pleased that we were able to stop the bill from being implemented thus far. Hopefully, our efforts to seek further review will prevent it from going into effect in the future.’