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HB 1523: Governor talks impact, what’s next

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the lawsuit against the state that had a hold on the Religious Accommodations Act had no standing. Therefore, the law could go into effect soon.

Related: Religious Accommodations Act, HB1523 will become law

“They basically dismissed the lawsuit,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “So we’ll let the lawyers worry how it goes forward from there. I’m sure another lawsuit will be filed, perhaps and injunction.. we’ll have to wait and see.”

Governor Bryant said that anyone wishing to appeal the decision had a few options as to how to get started.

“They can go back and ask the entire 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to go back and review the ruling, they have a couple of weeks to do that,” said Gov. Bryant. “Or they can ask the United States Supreme Court to review the ruling.”

Gov. Bryant said that while anyone in opposition to the ruling had the right to appeal, there was another group that has rights as well.

“There are people of faith in this nation that have rights as well,” said Gov. Bryant. “When it says we’ll make no laws prohibiting the exercise of religion…there are those who are concerned that the law may abandoned that… You cannot make people of faith a second class citizen.”

The ruling said the law could go into effect, but didn’t rule as to specifically when.

“I think the law is in effect just now, but again, we’ll allow the Attorney General’s office and other lawyers that are involved to make that decision,” said Governor Bryant.

The governor said the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Board voted unanimously to throw the case out of court.

“People can get mad at the court all they want to,” said Bryant. “But that’s what they ruled.”

Governor Bryant said he does not expect the law to impact the state on an economic front, stating the lowest unemployment rate in history being reached just last month at 4.9 percent.

News Mississippi has reached out the Mississippi Economic Council, which has said they will not be releasing a statement.

Other organizations have started speaking out against the ruling.

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, released a statement following the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to lift the injunction on HB 1523.

“LGBTQ people in Mississippi learned that they could be wrongly fired from their jobs, denied housing, and refused services at businesses just because someone wanted to use their so-called ‘religious exemption’ to discriminate against them. This kind of practice is wrong and against American values,” said Ellis. “Long-term momentum is on our side and the majority of Americans now oppose anti-LGBTQ discriminatory laws like HB 1523. It’s time that anti-LGBTQ elected officials in Mississippi listen to the people they represent rather than be remembered for being on the wrong side of history.”


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