Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to Miss. LGBT law
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear two cases challenging a Mississippi law that allows businesses and government employees to deny services to LGBT people based on their religious beliefs.
The court’s refusal to hear the case leaves intact the law, known as H.B. 1523, that says the state government will not take any discriminatory action against persons who don’t believe in same-sex marriage, homosexuality and transgenderism.
LGBT rights groups called the law the “worst in the nation” and the Supreme Court’s decision a “missed opportunity.”
“The Court’s inaction today means that LGBTQ Mississippians will continue to face harassment and discrimination,” Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans, said in a statement.
“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.”
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out a lower court order putting the law on hold and dismissed the challenges brought by state residents and two groups — the Campaign for Southern Equality and Joshua Generation Metropolitan Community Church.
The court said the challengers did not prove they’ve been personally injured by the state law, which is required to bring a legal challenge. The court added that the residents and LGBT advocates only claimed to suffer a “stigmatic injury,” which it considers not enough to bring a case.
“Under this current record, the plaintiffs have not shown an injury-in-fact caused by HB 1523 that would empower the district court or this court to rule on its constitutionality,” the court said. “We do not foreclose the possibility that a future plaintiff may be able to show clear injury-in-fact that satisfies the ‘irreducible constitutional minimum of standing,’ but the federal courts must withhold judgment unless and until that plaintiff comes forward.”
In a statement, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said the law was “democratically enacted and is perfectly constitutional.”
“The people of Mississippi have the right to ensure that all of our citizens are free to peacefully live and work without fear of being punished for their sincerely held religious beliefs,” he said.
Updated at 11:57 a.m.