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Religious Accomodations Act, HB1523 will become law

The House Bill 1523, also known as the Religious Accommodations Act will soon become law. 

A decision to stop the bill made by Judge Carlton Reeves of Jackson last year but was overturned in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday.

“I’m not at all surprised that the Fifth Circuit Court upheld House Bill 1523.  We in the legislature always believed it was constitutional and does not violate anyone’s rights. It does protect the rights of those who have sincerely held religious beliefs in our state,” said author of the bill Rep. Any Gipson.

With the courts decision the bill is now free to take affect, barring any other appeals.

House Bill 1523 protects “deeply held religious beliefs” and within it’s text singles out three.

  • marriage is between one man and one woman
  • people should not have sex outside of marriage
  • a person’s gender is determined at birth.

Once the bill is law it claims that a person or business would be protected from legal action if they refused service based one of those religious beliefs.

“House Bill 1523 simply protected Mississippians from government interference when practicing their deeply held religious beliefs, and I appreciate the Fifth Circuit clearing the path for this law to take effect,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said.

The law was challenged by the Campaign for Southern Equality, the Reverend Dr. Susan Hrostowski and several other private entities.

From the appeal:

“The plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of a Mississippi statute, HB 1523, under the Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. HB 1523 provides that ‘The state government shall not take any discriminatory action” against persons who act in accordance with certain beliefs in an enumerated set of circumstances.” 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a statement regarding their outlook on the courts decision. Executive Director Jennifer Riley Collins said this law is a “broad license to discriminate.”

“We are disappointed that the appeals court has reversed the preliminary injunction placed on HB 1523 and dismissed the case. This decision places the plaintiffs and thousands more LGBT Mississippians and single parents in a position where they can actually be harmed for living as their authentic selves,” said Collins.

The ACLU said they will continue to stay committed to advocating for equal protection for plaintiffs and the LGBT community in Mississippi.

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