Today the United States Supreme Court denied review in two cases, Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant and Bryant v. Barber, both challenging Mississippi’s HB 1523 passed in April 2016 and effective in October 2017. The Court’s decision not to hear the cases means the worst-in-the-nation anti-LGBTQ law will remain on the books in Mississippi.
The law allows for unprecedented discrimination against LGBT Mississipians. Under HB 1523, public employees, service providers, and business owners claiming a religious belief can discriminate against married same-sex couples, anyone who has sex outside of marriage, transgender people, and myriad others.
“The Supreme Court’s decision not to review HB 1523 is a missed opportunity to swiftly strike down the nation’s most extreme anti-LGBTQ law,” said Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans.
“The Court’s inaction today means that LGBTQ Mississipians will continue to face harassment and discrimination. HB 1523 fails to honor the tradition of religious freedom in America – instead, it allows people to use religion as a license to discriminate. The LGBTQ community remains in harm’s way every single day that this law is in effect, and we are committed to working with our legal partners to strike this draconian measure once and for all.”
After the law was signed by Governor Phil Bryant, plaintiffs represented separately by Roberta A. Kaplan and Lambda Legal immediately filed suit and a permanent injunction was issued on June 27, blocking the law from going into effect. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals later found that the plaintiffs in the Barber case lacked legal standing, thereby reversing the earlier injunction. On October 10, 2017 the law went into effect.
Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.