SCOTUS Declines Mississippi Religious Freedom Challenge

LIBERTY ALERTS, LIBERTY COUNSEL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Supreme Court declined yesterday to hear two cases challenging the constitutionality of a Mississippi law that allows religious organizations to refuse to hire persons or provide services to LGBT people in situations that conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs.

The high court’s refusal leaves in place the law, known as H.B. 1523, that prevents the state of Mississippi from taking “discriminatory action” against persons who act in accordance with religious beliefs that marriage “is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.” Among the decisions covered are hiring, adoption or foster care, provision of gender reassignment health care and providing personal services such as baking or photography.

 

The court stated 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. “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,” the court said.

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.

“This is a positive move that the Supreme Court will allow Mississippi’s religious freedom law to remain in effect,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “We anticipate this will help pave a way to help protect religious freedom laws in other states and this nation,” said Staver.


Used with the permission of Liberty Counsel.


Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.