SCOTUS Declines Mississippi Religious Freedom Challenge

Jan 9, 2018

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. 

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