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Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case Against Mississippi’s Anti-Gay Religious ‘License to Discriminate’ Law

SCOTUS Says Plaintiffs Do Not Have Standing

New Civil Rights Movement | January 9, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court is refusing to review a case challenging one of the most extreme anti-gay laws in the country. Mississippi’s HB 1523, which grants the right to refuse service by anyone to anyone if they believe that person is LGBT, in a same-sex relationship – including a legal marriage – has ever had sex outside man-woman marriage, has ever had an abortion, or has had their gender assigned at birth altered. Mississippi residents can cite their deeply-held religious or moral beliefs in these areas and not fear a government response against them.

The law was blocked by a federal judge but that stay was lifted by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Equality advocates took the case to the Supreme Court in October but on Monday the Court refused to review the case.

“The justices left in place a June ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the plaintiffs – same-sex couples, civil rights advocates including the head of the state NAACP chapter, a church and others – did not have legal standing to bring the lawsuit,” Reuters reports.

The law affects equal protection in people’s daily lives, by allowing restaurants, hotels, medical professionals, gas stations, schools, adoption agencies and more to refuse service to those they believe are LGBT or fall into any of the above situations. Pharmacies and doctors could refuse birth control and contraception services. Schools can refuse to allow transgender students to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. The list is long.

It’s unknown why the Court decided those targeted by the law do not have standing, although it may be waiting for an actual instance of discrimination to occur to test the law.

Written by David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

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