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Federal court upholds law protecting freedom of Mississippi Christians

Civil servants in the Magnolia state are free to bow out of officiating gay marriages

Federal court upholds law protecting freedom of Mississippi Christians

Mississippi’s controversial religious objection bill, which has drawn harsh criticism from the LGBT community and others, is now in effect, thanks to an appeals court.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that ministers, LGBT activists and others bringing the lawsuit lacked the standing to bring the litigation challenging House Bill 1523.

In 2016, the Mississippi Legislature passed the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act," better known as HB 1523, authored by House Speaker Philip Gunn. A reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide, the Mississippi bill seeks to protect by law the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and prevents government intervention when churches or businesses act "based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction."

The measure drew protests and rallies at the state Capitol and criticism nationwide as supporting discrimination against gay people and others in the name of religion.

Last year, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves of Jackson concluded that HB 1523 does not, despite its name, honor the nation's tradition of religious freedom. The law has never been enforced.

This article continues at [Mississippi Clarion Ledger] Controversial HB 1523 now Mississippi's law of land

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