Court allows Mississippi to enforce law allowing anti-LGBT discrimination

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

An appeals court has ruled that Mississippi can enforce a law which would allow anti-LGBT discrimination.

The law, which was halted last July before it could take effect by a federal district judge, would allow merchants and government employees to discriminate if they have religious objections to same-sex marriage.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled reversing last year’s decision, allowing the law to take effect.

Court allows Mississippi to enforce law allowing anti-LGBT discrimination

Plaintiffs in the original lawsuit have already said they will appeal the ruling.

Their attorneys could ask the full 5th Circuit Court to reconsider the ruling.

Attorneys for some of the plaintiffs who sued the state, Robert Kaplan, previously said the law is unconstitutional as it allows specific religious belief to trump civil rights.

Alliance Defending Freedom was defending the state. The Arizona-based legal group’s Kevin Theriot has said the law protects those with genuinely held religious beliefs.

The state’s Republican Governor was in favour of the law being upheld.

Governor Phil Bryant said he believes that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, that a person’s gender is set at birth and that gay sex is an act against God.

The Mississippi native had asked the federal appeals court to introduce the “religious objections” law, despite the fact it was previously blocked by U.S District Judge Carlton Reeves.

Reeves ruled that the law “unconstitutionally establishes preferred beliefs and creates unequal treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

Mississippi’s Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood later refused to appeal Reeves’ ruling but that didn’t stop Bryant.

The law will protect businesses which claim to have “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” in objection to same-sex marriage.

Bryant signed the new law in April last year – ignoring pleas from business leaders in the state.

After signing the bill, Bryant won praise from conservative Christian groups and received a religious freedom award from the Family Research Council.

However, he also faced an immense amount of backlash nationally as well as hundreds of protesters who went to his mansion to demand the repeal of the anti-LGBT law.

In June 2016, Governor Bryant said he’d rather be executed through crucifixion than repeal the anti-LGBT legislation.