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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - The highest court in the land is refusing to rule on a Mississippi law protecting Christian business owners from being forced to condone homosexuality.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the appeal over a state law, House Bill 1523, which allows faith-based businesses to refuse to take part in gay weddings against their religious beliefs.
The law was first blocked by a Mississippi federal judge who ruled against it, claiming it "discriminates" against the LGBT community. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling in 2016 because the challengers were unable to show how they were actually hurt by the law.
"Two years ago Mississippi passed one of the strongest religious freedom laws in the country. I was pleased to read today that the United States Supreme Court refused to intervene, allowing our law to remain in full effect," said state House Judiciary B Chairman, Andy Gipson, R-Braxton in the The Clarion-Ledger
on Monday. "Congratulations to Gov. Phil Bryant and his legal team."
The Missippi legislature approved the religious freedom law in 2015 following the Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges
, which legalized gay "marriage" nationwide. Governor Phil Bryant signed the measure into law in 2016, but it did not take effect until October 10, after President Trump broadened exemptions
to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that required employers to provide abortifacients and contraceptives in their health plans.
The law defends marriage between a man and a woman, sex within marriage, and the biological sexes of male and female. The law also protects businesses' religious liberty in cases involving gay marriages, including protecting county clerks from being forced to issue gay marriage licenses and faith-based adoption agences from being forced to adopt children out to gay couples.
The Human Rights Campaign, a the world's largest LGBT activist group, refers to the law as the "most sweeping and devastating state law to be enacted against LGBTQ people in the country."
"We will keep fighting in Mississippi until we overturn this harmful law, and in any state where antigay legislators pass laws to roll back LGBT civil rights," commented Beth Littrell, a gay rights lawyer with Lambda Legal, an American civil rights organization.
Alliance Defending Freedom is supporting the law, according to Kevin Theriot, one of the group's lawyers, noting, "Good laws like Mississippi's protect freedom and harm no one."
Theriot remarked that the purpose of the law is "that Mississippians don't live in fear of losing their careers or their businesses simply for affirming marriage as a husband-wife union."
In June, the Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling on the constitutionality
of a Christian baker's refusal to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, as doing so would go against his Christian beliefs.
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