Fed Court Greenlights Religious Freedom Law

JACKSON, MS (Ben Caxton) — A federal appeals court says Mississippi can start enforcing a law that will let merchants and government employees cite religious beliefs to deny services to same-sex couples. On Thursday the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a judge’s decision that had blocked the law before it could take effect last July. US District Judge Carlton Reeves had ruled that the law unconstitutionally established preferred beliefs and created unequal treatment for LGBT people. Gay and straight plaintiffs who sued the state say the law gives “special protections to one side” in a religious debate; Governor Phil Bryant and others say the law protects beliefs that marriage can be between only a man and a woman, and that a person’s gender is determined at birth and cannot be changed.


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